Better so wanted to share you with an experience about how a story made a difference and caring for this one individual so within Alberta Health Services we have added more than.
What we call whiteboards so more than eight thousand whiteboards across the province and these are whiteboards that if you’re a patient in.
A room right in front on the wall it’s going to be a whiteboard and on that board is going to be provided name of your healthcare provider for that day maybe they will talk about some tests that are going.
To be going on and it’s really meant to be an information board for the patient so that they know who’s looking after them.
And what’s going to happen part of the challenge though was adopting the update you can imagine with a thousand boards 8,000 practitioners gonna get a little bit of varied response right about who.
Fills out what and in fact we weren’t absolutely able to actually get some of the stuff to even fill it out even though we were told by patients and families that whiteboards make a very positive difference in their health care experience it just wasn’t.
Enough to samantha experience so one day on a particular unit it came to this managers attention that there’s an elderly patient who noticed that on her whiteboard there was nothing written so it was blank and yet she could see on the other whiteboards for other patients that it was updated quite regularly so what she thought was that she thought.
Gonna die that she thought that there was nothing written on a whiteboard because she knew that it was just a matter of days so she summed up the courage because it takes courage to ask her health care provider why is it that my whiteboard is empty is it because I’m gonna die.
And the manager was taken aback saying oh my goodness absolutely not you’re you’re not well but you’re in good hands and you’re going to get better and it was through the story.
Relate to the staff when the staff understood the impact of an empty whiteboard I can tell you that in that unit every single whiteboard had been filled out since so that’s kind of the power of storytelling to say that.
It’s more than just about the patient experience it really is about what is the impact.
For that individual person so as I said storytelling within Alberta Health Services really began with the establishment of a patient and family advisory group and this is a tremendous group of individuals who volunteer their time bring their ideas and perspectives and actually informs Alberta Health Services about our policies or.
Programs our procedures and make sure that everything is looked at through the lens of a patient and family member and they really volunteer countless hours I think we’ve done annual reports about the thousands of.
Hours that they dedicate to improving healthcare for all our burton’s and so it’s through their stories and their experiences which are to be frank both positive and more often than not negative that really fed into one of our four foundational strategies which is the patient first strategy so back in 2013 I was asked by the then CEO of Chris ego to really launch you know a organizational wise strategy on patient family centered care and being a pediatric nephrologist which is my clinical specialty I couldn’t understand.
Why you need it to do that why do we actually have to develop a strategy where we have to treat patients and clients with respect and dignity with kindness and compassion it really didn’t make sense to me and but there was no question there was a need there there’s no question that that we heard loud and clear that patients and families wanted to be respected they wanted to be heard they wanted to have a.
Team and they wanted to have seamless transition so part of the patient first strategy in terms of rolling it out very much a part of that.
Is around the storytelling so when we ask about stories from patients we want to know what.
When things go right and we also want to know about when things go better or could go better and I just want to share a story with you about what the difference is when it comes to my own personal experience so as I was saying to you I’m a children’s kidney specialist and one of.
The difficult times for our patients is the transition period when they transition from our service over to the adult service so I was rounding in the hospital and one of the adult kidney specialists saw me in the hallway and said Verna I need to talk to you about your patient and it was a seventeen year old girl and I knew her very well we looked after her since she was.
A baby so we knew the family extremely well she was one of two siblings who both had kidney failure both of them were transplanted this is a family who is an incredibly resilient family who if you if you could only cope with one child with Kenny thelight alone two with Kenny fair.
I mean they were unbelievable parents and so as part of our transition into the adult unit you can understand how difficult it would be how scary you would be for her to be in a unit that’s very different from the.
One she had grown up in for 17 years of her life so I was thinking well you know she’s a really nice.
Girl like what on earth could possibly be wrong and so I said to the I don’t know follow gist I said well you know I’ll tell.
Me and I’ll go talk to her and see.
How things are going but I just for the life of me could not fathom what was the issue and the ad ornithologist said to me you know Verna she’s asking for her mom too much and I’m thinking what she’s of course.
She’s asking for her mother she’s 17 for goodness sakes and why should she not be asking for her mother and the problem was is that they didn’t know who she was.
They didn’t know her story they didn’t know her background they didn’t know the years of chronic disease that she had they didn’t understand the connection that she.
Had with her her mother and her father and her brother and it’s because of that lack of knowledge that the care.
Team really I think underestimated the importance of her family to her and so for me this is a really important illustration of how storytelling and under somebody’s story actually impacts on someone’s care because once you’re labeled as being a problem you can imagine what the rest of your Hospital state may be like so within Alberta Health Services we launched something called a good.
News initiative part of our challenge within the organization is really trying to relay out to our staff around good initiatives and good stories we have a process called the patient relations office and patient relations if you.
Go onto our website right on the first part of the page you can if you have any issue whether it’s a good issue.
Or a bad issue you can click on that and you get on to patient relations and I can share with you that most of the time they tend to be bad.
News they trying to be complaints about 80% of the time but 20% are actually really positive stories and we know that this is.
Not necessarily an accurate reflection of how patients we serve feel about our work because the commendations are often done informally – not really formally through the website so we really wanted to get.
Out there around the Good News initiative and we thought it was one of the ways that we could really formalize an informal commendation but it required a lot of.
Work we had to contact patients we had to get consents we had to get their stories and we had to share them throughout the organization through our internal website.
Through our electronic newsletters and meetings of our staff and the patient first steering committee and initially we were worried that we wouldn’t get enough stories out there we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to find the positive experiences but let me tell you there were too many.
We had incredible feedback things around providing input into our frontline providers were commanded.
And many times the reactions from.
Our frontline providers were one of surprise they didn’t realize that they were doing.
Anything outside of the norm they didn’t realize that they earned any appreciation and they.
Were very very grateful getting praise from the patients and families because we know that health care is a tough job health care is a stressful job so anytime there’s this type of.
Positive feedback you can see how important it is up to the staff it really does lead to.
Rejuvenation and it makes them motivated it really helps our teams stay motivated so we felt that the good news initiative was a really good start around storytelling about getting the stories out to our crew and it was a really powerful tool and then.
More about more people wanting to get more storytelling and so this really started their path about moving forward to the next initiative which is around digital storytelling so I think I’m gonna show a video sameö who’s gonna help me with this so we’re gonna show you one of our youtube videos.
And it’s entitled to hell and back when I was 10 years old my cousin took me for a ride on his 1972 Honda 250 on a frozen lake I was hooked one of my favorite places to ride and fly fish is the high would pass I feel totally free in the mountains but three years ago I thought I would lose all of it I was in the shower one morning when I got screaming dizzy and I couldn’t breathe little voice in my head said you need to call 900 12 hours later after.