Improving the patient experience - A guest post from Vice President, Patient Experience: Linda Dempster

07/09/2016 10:00:00 AM | 2 comments |

Across the country – and in fact all over the world – conversations amongst health care leaders are tuned towards this concept of “shift” we talk about so much in Fraser Health. When we talk about the shift, we are talking about moving away from a system that relies heavily on hospitals and towards a system that promotes health and wellness, prevention and management. Refining our use of hospitals and expanding community services are two ways to create a more sustainable system that better supports the health needs of our communities and citizens. Fraser Health is well positioned to make this shift a reality. Our vision Better health. Best in health care. has long stood for our organizational commitment to help people be well, stay well, get well, or manage better and when they are sick or injured, to deliver the very best care we can.  

Our executive team members are committed to making decisions and organizing their portfolios to best support our efforts. I’d like to introduce them and let them tell you how they are supporting Fraser Health’s vision of Better health. Best in health care.

Ensuring a vice president on my team was specifically tasked for patient experience is one way I am making good on the commitment I made to Fraser Health’s employees, physicians and volunteers, that I will ensure that patients and their families are central to our decisions and I will ask questions about how our decisions and actions affect patients as we go about running our business every day.

I’d like to introduce Linda Dempster, Fraser Health’s Vice President of Patient Experience. ~ Michael Marchbank, President and CEO, Fraser Health.

Improving the patient experience is a goal that is near and dear to my heart. From the start of my career in nursing to my current role as a vice president, a patient’s experience of their care has always mattered to me.  Today, I have responsibilities that include patient safety and quality, professional practice, infection prevention and control, ethics and diversity services, accreditation and the patient care quality office.
One major aspect of the patient experience portfolio is to ensure we’re caring for people in the most appropriate place – and the hospital is often not that place. The longer someone remains in a hospital bed, the higher the risk of reduced mobility, infections, falls and other adverse events, particularly for some of our frail elderly patients.
Some of the ways we’re focusing on more community-based care include providing more IV therapy outside the hospital— in residential care facilities for example— as well as hiring more nurse practitioners and licensed practical nurses in community settings.
Working with my colleagues in public health as well as with population data, our diversity services team is looking at the health needs of targeted groups of people, such as the South Asian community, and the services we can provide to fill those needs. 
We have developed indicators for our health care report card to better track and account for our progress in the quality of residential care and home health services as well as other non-hospital services.
The hospital will always be a key component of the health care experience. So another piece of the patient experience portfolio is to ensure our hospitals are available when they are needed, with efficient, quality care and service.
I want to make sure patients experience not only highly competent and safe care, but that they feel the care in health care. Our employees excel at both, and we aim to continuously improve and work with our patients as partners in their care.
We learn from other health care organizations and use evidence-based standards and protocols to provide the highest quality of care. We use algorithms and guidelines to intervene at the earliest signs of a patient taking a turn for the worse – catching adverse events before they happen. We’ve identified six patient safety priorities around infection prevention and medication reconciliation, meaning our efforts are highly focused across the organization. We are serious about keeping our patients safe. We are focusing on reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics with our Antimicrobial Stewardship Program so that we will have appropriate antibiotics to use in the future.
Another highlight is our effort to reduce the complications from surgery through the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. One internationally recognized example of our success: our colleagues at Peace Arch Hospital recently presented to an American College of Surgeons conference about their strategies to reduce traffic in and out of the operating room during total joint replacements, which resulted in a significant decrease in infections.
I have first-hand experience with my father being hospitalized many times over the past few years. Across the continuum we met outstanding caregivers who treated my father with respect and true kindness and for that I am truly grateful.  I’m so proud of all our employees and physicians who are working with me to improve the patient experience across all of our services, and ensuring that quality care can be delivered where it works best for our patients, residents and clients.

Myrna Norman
Awaiting your promised call regarding Dementia Bracelets.
22/02/2017 6:48:41 PM

Myrna Norman
Awaiting call from Sherry re: meeting with Linda Dempster and patient council regarding cost effective means to assisting dementia patients. I didn't not attend Board meeting last week as I assumed my phone would ring with an appointment.
17/02/2017 1:33:44 PM

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