Patients help shape care at St. Joseph’s Hospital: A new patient advisory council been created

Jul. 12, 2012

The experience and opinions of patients are now playing an integral role in shaping care and services at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London with the creation of a patient advisory council.

The St. Joseph’s Hospital Patient Advisory Council is providing an official voice for patients and their families to ensure they are the focus of health care delivery and ongoing strategic planning at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

“Engaging our patients and listening to what they have to say is a priority for St. Joseph’s Health Care London,” explains Karen Perkin, vice president acute and ambulatory, professional practice/chief nurse executive. “While patient and family councils have been in place for years at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Hospital and Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas, the ambulatory care nature of most of our programs at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and the broad scope of those programs, has posed a challenge. This new council provides a forum for engaging our ambulatory care patients in a meaningful way.”

Through the council, leaders at St. Joseph’s Hospital will receive input and recommendations for consideration in planning, hear concerns for ongoing quality improvement, and gauge public opinion on new initiatives or changes to services.

Patients taking part represent the wide range of care at St. Joseph’s Hospital – ambulatory medicine, chronic disease management, short-stay surgery, primary care – with some members receiving care from multiple programs. They also represent patients with accessibility challenges and different cultural backgrounds.

“Wellness and healing involves our whole person, not just an eye or a limb, says council member Martha Joyce, a patient of St. Joseph’s Rheumatology Centre. “The establishment of the Patient Advisory Council reinforces what I have felt throughout my care: that St. Joseph’s truly values the patient’s whole experience.  I believe that the most effective and responsive health care will be achieved by partnership between providers and communities, so it’s very exciting to have the opportunity to contribute.”

Kash Husain, who is legally blind and a patient of the Ivey Eye Institute, also commends St. Joseph’s for seeking to involve patients in important decisions.

“I feel that I have knowledge of the challenges faced by persons with disabilities and would like to convey that to leaders and staff so that they keep it in mind when caring for patients,” says Husain. “The council is a great exchange of information back and forth.”

The creation of the council comes at a pivotal time in the history of St. Joseph’s Hospital, which is redefining what it means to be a hospital. With health care restructuring in London, the hospital has evolved to specialize in day and short-stay surgery and ambulatory treatment of complex medical and chronic disease. Interdisciplinary teams provide comprehensive assessment, diagnosis, treatment and follow up care for eye disease, rheumatic diseases, urological and gynecological disorders, diabetes, chronic pain, osteoporosis, hand and upper limb injuries, disorders of the ear, nose and throat, lung disease, sexual assault and domestic violence, infectious diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, breast abnormalities and more.

“We are committed to providing an exceptional patient care experience, and that means caring for patients in ways that support their individual needs – body, mind and spirit,” says Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, St. Joseph’s president and CEO. “To do this, and achieve our vision of earning complete confidence in the care we provide, we must listen to what patients say is important to them. The council provides us with a valuable avenue to do so.”

Council members remain on the council for one to two years and meet quarterly with St. Joseph’s Hospital leaders.


For more information:
Dahlia Reich, Communication & Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Health Care, London
519 646-6100 ext. 65294
Pager 519 646-6100 ext. 10117

Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s is one of the best academic health care organizations in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. CARING FOR THE BODY, MIND & SPIRIT SINCE 1869

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