The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the importance of patient partnerships across the continuum of care, when navigating a fast-moving healthcare sector with high pressure and increased risks.
Together with partners, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (now Healthcare Excellence Canada) hosted a series of discussion webinars from April to August 2020, to facilitate conversations across Canada about patient engagement and partnership during the pandemic.
The webinars focused on specific and emerging issues, policies and practices that were rapidly developing and being implemented in response to COVID-19. These issues directly impacted patients, families and caregivers, risking the quality and safety of care both for those receiving and delivering it.
We provided a place for discussion about these critical issues, and a means for participants to share and learn from each other as they responded to the evolving pandemic.
August 13, 2020
Co-hosts: Angela Morin (Patient Partner and Lead for Patient and Family Centred Care, Kingston Health Sciences Centre) and Allison Kooijman (Patient Partner and Co-Chair, Patients for Patient Safety Canada)
Presenter: Carolyn Shimmin (Patient and Public Engagement Lead, George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation)
Following on from the webinar on July 9, this Part 2 webinar focused on incorporating trauma informed care into patient engagement work, appreciating the trauma that may have been experienced by patients, families and caregivers.
In order to care for people in ways that create physical, psychological, and cultural safety, people need to have choices and be empowered to be decision makers for their own care. Recognizing and responding to different experiences people have through trauma, and reducing the risk of re-traumatization, requires taking an equity approach to engage with those who are traditionally less heard.
This webinar also shared techniques and resources to enhance patient engagement and partnerships in practice.
July 9, 2020
Co-hosts: Justina Marianayagam (Patient Partner and Medical Student) and Haley Warren (Improvement Lead, CFHI)
Guest speakers: Kristy Macdonell (Manager – Health Equity, Scarborough Health Network), Lori Berger-Hegyi (Patient Family Advisor, Scarborough Health Network) and Faria Khan (Provincial Initiatives Consultant, Alberta Health Services)
Patient engagement and partnership efforts often focus on those that have the capacity, willingness and ability to engage. In times of crisis, this is often exacerbated, with many organizations seeking out those most familiar to them. However, this does not necessarily reflect the range of patient populations that use or need healthcare in Canada – including those from ethnocultural backgrounds, who do not speak English or French, in lower socio-economic backgrounds, who are under-housed, or other underserved populations.
This two-part webinar unpacked a variety of considerations for engagement with diverse patient populations. Participants explored the added challenges brought about by COVID-19 and specific ways they could do better, including after the pandemic.
June 25, 2020
Co-hosts: Carole Ann Alloway (Family Caregiver Partner, Ontario) and Haley Warren (Improvement Lead, CFHI) Guest speakers:
The underlying philosophy of patient-centred and patient-partnered care, and the role of the family caregiver as an essential partner in care, needs to be consistent and fully institutionalized across the health system and the continuum of care. Despite significant perceived gains in patient engagement, partnership and the emergence of patient leadership, during the pandemic many active patient partners noted that opportunities for engagement were very limited. In many cases provincial, regional and local organizations brought together pandemic planning tables, and formed guidance and recommendations, without engaging people with lived experience.
This webinar asked: How do we institutionalize this collaboration between patients and healthcare providers so it can withstand the turbulence of a crisis? Participants discussed existing enablers and barriers as well as identifying the practices, policies and resources that would support stronger engagement efforts during the pandemic.
May 26, 2020
Co-hosts: Claire Snyman (Patient Partner, British Columbia) and Carol Fancott (Director, CFHI)
Guest speakers: Caroline Wong (Executive Manager, Centre of Excellence for Partnerships with Patients and the Public, University of Montreal) and Vincent Dumez (Co-Director, Centre of Excellence for Partnerships with Patients and the Public, University of Montreal)
What does patient engagement look like in a time of COVID-19 from a patient, family or caregiver perspective and from an organizational and healthcare leader perspective?
This webinar explored innovative and creative approaches in patient engagement practices during the pandemic, and how COVID-19 may have changed the patient engagement landscape moving forward. Participants discussed ways organizations had maintained their engagement and partnership activities and, in many cases, strengthened and accelerated their efforts. They also shared expectations and priorities for patients, families and caregivers.
May 12, 2020
Host: Heather Thiessen (Patient Partner), Julie Drury, Strategic Lead for Patient Engagement
Guest speakers: Mario Lopez (Patient Partner) and Mari Teitelbaum (Vice-President Strategy, Quality & Family Partnership and Chief Innovation Officer, CHEO)
How have organizations pivoted to support non-COVID-19 patients and families? Participants in this webinar discussed changes in system navigation, such as shifting to virtual care, and how that might affect patients, families and caregivers.
The webinar explored how many changes are being co-developed with patient partners and communicated with their support. Participants also talked about support needed to access care, from a patient perspective, and potential solutions and contingencies to address challenges faced.
April 28, 2020
Co-hosts: Isabel Jordan (Patient Partner, CFHI) and Denise McCuaig, Métis Elder
Guest speaker: Yona Lunsky (Director, Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health [CAMH])
What challenges are patients, families and caregivers facing and how are they coping? This webinar enabled organizations to share approaches they offer in partnership with patients, families and caregivers to support emotional, spiritual and mental well-being.
Patients and families shared how they approach caring for their emotional well-being. The webinar also facilitated a conversation about addressing longer-term mental health trauma associated with COVID-19 and explored how partnerships and collaborations will help build solutions together.
April 16, 2020
Co-hosts: CFHI and members from the National Health Engagement Network
During this webinar, patient engagement leaders and patient and family partners from across Canada shared new approaches to facilitate engagement. Participants also shared how their organizations were working to welcome family and caregivers as partners in care during the time of COVID-19.
Finding a balance between the importance of care that focuses on the needs and priorities of patients, families and caregivers, and providers, and the imperative for safety and infection control during the pandemic was crucial. The discussion highlighted several key practices to support ongoing family and caregiver presence as partners in care.