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PEPs keep patients at the heart of decision-making


KAWARTHA LAKES: At Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH), a team of specialized volunteers spend their time engaging with patients and families, and providing feedback to leadership, to ensure that their voices and lived experiences are part of decision-making. The Patient Experience Partners (PEPs), are a group of former patients and family members of patients, who together are driven to support a positive change in the hospital. PEPs complete many activities throughout the hospital, including rounding, which involves surveying patients and families about their experience and offering support on the spot. This process allows patients and families to voice concerns, share compliments, or ask questions in real-time, rather than providing feedback after they head home. PEP rounding results are included in annual quality scores alongside other survey results, to give a well-rounded picture of the quality of care at RMH. PEPs also participate in several committees that report to the RMH Board, including Accessibility, Quality/Governance and Planning committees. PEPs are often asked to participate in advisory sessions about decisions that will shape the future of the hospital, including programs and care delivery for the next 5, 10 and even 20 years. “Their voices are integral to our planning. For example, based on valuable feedback from a PEP, we recently made significant enhancements to our operating rooms,” says Veronica Nelson, Interim President and CEO. “We rely on PEPs to validate, inform and guide many of our decisions, and we hope to grow the program so that patient experience is represented across the spectrum of care, we provide.”

Lisa Green, Manager of Quality and Patient Experience, shares that few hospitals in Ontario have former patients and family members volunteering in this capacity. “Each department strives to have patient involvement in decision-making,” says Lisa, “but as you can imagine, we need more PEPs to keep up with the need.” The Hospital is actively seeking more PEPs, with a range of backgrounds and experiences with the healthcare system, so each PEP can contribute in a more meaningful and focused way, to the programs and care areas they have direct experience with. Three PEPs share what they like about their role: “It makes me feel good that I’m part of doing something good. It will hopefully benefit the hospital, the patients and the staff, too. I also enjoy putting a patient’s perspective in policies as well.” – Bryan “You really feel needed, the leadership here is responsive to our suggestions. I find it’s made a big difference. I see positive changes as a result of our work.” -Trish “It’s very satisfying… we offer a fresh face and conversation to hear about their experience. We are serving the hospital’s ultimate goal of providing exceptional care by gathering real-time feedback. We can see through the hospital’s actions that we are being listened to.” – Howard To become a PEP, a person must: • Be 18 or older. • Have received care or had a family member who has received care from our hospital within the last two years. • Available to complete rounding, but may also be asked to participate in committees as their schedule allows. • Available for at least five hours per month. If you’re interested in becoming a Patient Experience Partner at Ross Memorial Hospital, visit auxiliary.rmh.org and complete the Patient Experience Partner Application, and email to quality@rmh.org.

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