• Kevala Van Volkenburg

My Experience at the 2019 BCPSQC Quality Forum

Hello fellow Quality Improvement enthusiasts! I am an undergraduate student at the University of Northern British Columbia and am a member of the IHI Open School chapter at UNBC. I was honoured to have received a scholarship from the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council to this year’s Quality Forum. My first day at the forum I felt a little lost, there were so many doctors, nurses, health care managers and allied health professionals. There was no need for me to be nervous, though. Everyone was warm and welcoming and had similar interests. Despite feeling a little out of place at the beginning, I connected and had engaging conversations with everyone I met. Before this conference I had no idea how many people had dedicated themselves to improve the health care system and patient care. Also, the presenters showed outstanding work to improve issues they saw observed in their work. I was inspired by the fact that so many people had successfully implemented projects and research in quality improvement. I attended several sessions, from publishing quality improvement projects to projects in end of life care.

One of the talks that touched me was the #hellomynameis campaign presented by Chris Granger. The #hellomynameis campaign was started by Kate Granger, Chris’s his wife of 15 years who was a doctor herself and developed a rare type of cancer. Like many of us, Kate liked to know about her treatment and what was going on in her care including the who, what, when, where and how. Not a difficult request, right? On one of her trips to the emergency room no one even took the time to introduce themselves except for the porter. After this experience Kate started the #hellomyname is campaign to remind health care professionals to introduce themselves to their patients. This can make a huge difference to the patient and doesn’t take much time on the doctor’s behalf. Kate along with her husband, Chris, worked tirelessly to share her campaign and passion for patient centered care and has spread all over the world. Kate passed away from her disease, and her loving husband Chris continues her work. After the talk, he told the quality form that we are the largest group of people he had talked to and we all took a picture with our #mynameis: signs. I hope that this take touches many others and everyone at the talk will spread Kate’s message to the world. I will make sure to be conscious about introducing myself to my future patients and other staff as well as learning the names of my coworkers and staff.

Another rapid-fire talk I attended was about end-of-life care. Before this conference, I volunteered in the dementia facility in my home town and saw the great job the team was doing, but there is always room for improvement. In this particular presentation, the acute care ward this team discussed the changes they made to improve the family and patient experience when a loved one is passing away. They made a cart which included coffee, tea, candles and other things the family might need. This helped families spend as much time with their loved ones as they needed before they passed. They also found a local pendent maker that could embed finger prints or their loved one’s heart beat into a necklace or bracelet. Even though this seems like such a little thing, it meant so much to everyone involved. They had countless success stories from patients, some of which were shared during the question period when people who had participated in this program stood up and shared how much this changed their hospital experience. I found it amazing that changing such a little thing in patient care can make all the difference.

The quality forum has helped me grow my perspective about quality improvement. I had always thought that to improve the health care system we need to think BIG and do BIG projects. Since then I have realized that even small changes can make a huge difference to so many people. The quality forum was an eye opening experience for me and I would recommend it to anyone, from health care professional to patient to student.

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