Being diagnosed with cancer and navigating the cancer system can be a daunting experience for many. But with people like Christine Peters, the regional oncology lead for person-centred care, we learn from past and present patients how we can improve the care we provide for future patients.
Christine’s work spans across the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program and works to ensure we provide high-quality person-centred care by embedding the patient voice any way we can.
1. What does the patient experience mean to you?
Patient experience is a key step in providing person-centred care. If we are able to keep the goal of improving the patient experience at the forefront of our planning, we will develop programs and systems that are more person-centred. The patient experience encompasses all the interactions a patient has with the health care system and its different team members, both clinical and non-clinical, as well as the plans that result from their interactions. This means that not only are our patients happy with the care they received, but they received the right care, at the right time, in the right way.
2. How does the cancer program work towards to improving the patient experience?
We partner with patient and family advisors on many projects and councils. This helps us understand what is important to the patient and keeps their needs at the centre of our decision making.
We are also looking at how we can elicit the voice of the under serviced/never serviced populations to ensure that we are working to meet the needs and improve the experience of the diverse populations in Waterloo Wellington.
Finally, we survey our patients about their experience. We regularly review this information and use it to inform us of where we should focus our improvement efforts.
3. What are some things you are currently working on that will improve the cancer experience in the regional caner program?
We are working to ensure that appropriate patients are offered treatment closer to their home at our partner clinics in Mount Forest, Fergus, Guelph and Cambridge. Right now our focus is on the Mount Forest clinic. When we interviewed patients prior to treatment, most expressed a preference in receiving their care closer to home. The most common reason was to reduce the need to travel, especially in the winter.
4. The cancer program has a patient and family advisory council (PFAC). How does this council work to improve the patient experience?
This council has done some incredible work! The relaunch of our resource centre as the J. Wesley Graham Resource Centre was a project PFAC advocated for. We’ve had over 1,400 individuals visit the resource centre, but more importantly, patients comment on how much they value the services provided. Our PFAC has also developed a strategic plan which provides direction and ensures there is focus on the items patients care about most.
5. How would someone go about joining the patient and family advisory council?
For more information or to apply to be a member of the council, please visit the GRH website here.
If you have any questions, you can email PFAC@grhosp.on.ca (opens in new window).
6. What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your job?
I find it very rewarding when I get to marry my interest in quality improvement with projects that focus on person centred care. Quality improvement is a systematic approach to improving quality and ensures that we only implement the changes that help us reach our desired result.