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Patient Experience Case Study - VHA Home HealthCare
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Introducing a "Client and Family Voice" Initiative

What was the challenge, opportunity or issue faced?

VHA Home HealthCare’s Board and senior management team decided in January 2013 that VHA would enhance their ongoing efforts to achieve truly client-centered care, by introducing the ‘Client and Family Voice’ initiative. The initiative, spearheaded by a board member from an organization that had a fully functioning, truly patient and family driven Patient and Family Advisory Committee, is led by the VP of Client Services who is responsible for integrating the patient and family engagement philosophy throughout the organization. VHA substitutes ‘patients’ with ‘clients.’

What did you do to address it?

This initiative, sub-titled ‘Nothing About You…Without You’ (borrowed from the UK) began with the development of a Steering Committee whose members would become the champions and leaders in client and family engagement. The committee’s mandate was to begin to ‘ready’ the organization for a cultural shift that would enable VHA to become an organization that involves clients and families in the planning, designing, implementing and evaluating of everything we do. The Steering Committee invited five clients and family members to assist the committee to identify what is required to make a client and family experience a meaningful one, and what improvement opportunities might be for VHA.

What were the outcomes?

The committee met monthly and by the end of 2013 had achieved the following:

  • A fully engaged and passionate team of champions ready to spread their experience and enthusiasm throughout the organization
  • What we learned by working with our first five clients and family members resulted in a Toolbox of support material for departments ready to engage clients and families
  • Twelve potential quality and safety improvement opportunities were identified
  • Four VHA service areas/departments have come forward to engage clients and families in their QI objectives
  • VHA is now planning for the first Client and Family Advisory Committee to commence in Fall 2014
The following toolbox categories were identified by the committee as helpful for any department incorporating the Client and Family Voice:
  • Why involve clients and family members in your project?
  • Getting started – understanding your project/question and how clients and family members can be helpful
  • The ABC’s of involvement – an inventory of all the ways to seek client/family involvement and how to choose the best one for your project/question
  • Finding the best match for client and/or family member involvement
  • Making the experience a meaningful one for all – Tips for Success

About VHA Home HealthCare

VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) is a non-profit, charitable, health care and community support services organization that has been serving Ontarians for 87 years. VHA delivers compassionate health care services to over 80,000 clients and provides more than one million home visits annually in rural and urban Ontario. VHA is committed to providing high-quality, complex rehabilitation, nursing and personal support services to our clients and their families through our more than 1,400 dedicated health care providers.

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