An ambulance ride to the ER floor our hallway weight chest x-ray cat scan by these oxygen and blood tests and many doctors and nurses coming in and out of my room I found out that I had a massive pulmonary embolism a week later I was recovering but my legs were still puffed up like marshmallows despite this they wanted me to go home a condition of my release was that.
I had to learn to inject a drug into my stomach as.
They were describing the process I started to panic because I am an extreme fear of needles who would think.
A big tough biker would be scared of.
Tried to explain to them that I couldn’t do it I was crying and freaking out but they just kept saying don’t worry you can handle it you’re a strong woman you’re tough I remember one.
Person screaming at me this is to save your life in the end I could tell that no matter what I said it was falling on deaf ears I knew that I would not be able to do it by myself at home but no one was listening to me with my family doctors help I was able to get the community paramedic program to do the injections for me however a few weeks.
Later I had another blood clot in my foot and I was immediately admitted to the hospital for two emergency surgeries one of them was to remove all.
The toes on my left foot as I laid my bed recovering a spiritual care guy walked into my room I gave him a hard time because I really didn’t want to face.
My own mortality however he was persistent and eventually.
I realized he was just there to listen to me.
I told him how worried I was that.
I wouldn’t be able to shift gears on my bike and it would never be able to ride again after he left I felt like I had been listened to two weeks later he came back with some photos of motorbikes and fly fishing in the mountains he put them up on the wall and kept coming in to visit me throughout my recovery he went above and beyond to find out what was important to me those visits and.
The photos on the wall made me determined to figure out how I was gonna get back on my bike and fish again two years later I was able to get floorboards for my bike and a prosthetic to help.
Me shift and I got to ride through the high would pass as I opened up the throttle I remember thinking that when you’re riding your bike the louder the pipes the more people pay attention but I don’t think.
That’s the way health care should operate so hmm so as you can see we don’t sugarcoat the experiences you can see that we want really the straight the unvarnished truth from our subjects or patients or family advisors we want good experiences and we want the bad experiences because there’s much to learn from both and as you can see from Michelle these experiences they were good and bad and it reminds us that we need to view the individual as a.
Whole that is just not about the toes it’s just not about the the gangrene in her.
Feet it’s really about her as a person you know what were her dreams what her fears what do we need to understand that person.
As a whole person for us to truly care for them I did an interview for my Klang I think Mike Lange is here when he was doing a series on storytelling and I said in the interview with him that you.
Know when we see patients the first thing we say often in clinic is you know what’s the matter with you right what’s the matter with you and really we need to switch it and we need to say you know what.
Matters to you and it’s just a substitution there’s like two little words you know really what matters to you and I think if you don’t understand.
That if we didn’t understand that about Shelley we didn’t understand what was important to her then how do you look after her how do you actually keep her from being in a state of depression because you know her fear was that she could never ride a motorbike again and so you know the spiritual care advisor really listened.
Going out of his way to put pictures of a motorbike or a fly-fishing on the wall of her hospital room no question these were simple acts of kindness and compassion and it’s sad to say that you know it we considered that we’re going out of.
Way to do that you know and the spiritual care adviser lifted her spirits beyond what we would have expected with any medication good given her any medication to do that and yet it was just these photographs so these are syste story stories that we.
Want to share with everyone who works in the healthcare system because I suspect when they see this video they’re never gonna forget it and really is those random acts of kindness that makes the ultimate difference for a patient experience and that is the power of.
Storytelling so when we launched digital storytelling.
In 2016 and today we produced about 34 videos that really addresses a wide range of health care experiences so there’s really applicability across all service areas it’s not just about acute inpatient care we know we have stories around seniors care we’ve got adolescents young adults and really is.
Through these videos that we are now better to but now.
We are now better meet the growing demand for patient storytelling because we couldn’t keep up there are too many asks we didn’t we didn’t happen our patient family advisors and I know that they themselves felt.
That they were spread too thin so when we don’t when it.
Is not possible for an advisor to speak in person or to routinely work with the committee we actually use these digital stories to help our people learn from and reflect about patient and family experiences we have many clinical nurse educators.
General who are now incorporating their videos in their curriculum and our.
Plan for 2018 is to really take these 34 and really get out to show our frontline staff and that’s a really important goal for us digital storytelling.
Encourages moments of reflection for our.
Know that my better reflection it will lead to improved patient outcomes and experiences and absolutely improved health provider experiences so in fact our quality team produced a digital story themselves focusing on one of our healthcare administrators on how a moment of reflection.
And Sami amico collar up of really how a moment of reflection and clarity really reinvigorated her and reminded her of why she chose to work in health care you I got married when I was 21 and soon after we packed our belongings into seven hockey bags boarded a Greyhound bus to Montreal and I started my training as a social worker this is where my.
Journey into health care really began over the.
Past 20 years I have provided frontline care led operational teams and eventually have transitioned into strategic level positions there was always lots of work to be done and it was easy to get caught up in the policies the procedures the deadlines and the lists of urgent tasks I didn’t notice it happening but working every day in this environment slowly was disconnecting me from the reason why I got into health.
Care in the first place in the summer of 2016 I was reminded my mother-in-law went into the hospital for a routine hysterectomy unfortunately things did not go as planned and she suffered a perforated bowel during the surgery within 24 hours she went into septic shock and multi organ failure we were called in to the hospital to say our goodbyes before I left I packed my suitcase with funeral clothes anticipating that we would.
Lose her when I walked into the ICU for the first time I was overwhelmed I barely recognized her between the swelling tubes monitoring machines and.
Medication lines it was a blur of activity to watch the care team work on her she was cold swollen.
Haze of those days I clearly.
One nurse while my mom was unconscious we watched him talk to her as if she were listening and fully aware his touch was gentle and his tone was calm and caring he spoke.
To her throughout his shifts telling her exactly what he was doing what he was noticing on the machines and the medications he was adjusting he cared for her like she was.
One on his mind not only was it comforting to watch him treat her with such dignity but.
I see now that it also gave us hope and communicated important information to us as a family in those moments I saw firsthand how.
Health care providers don’t just.
Actions of that one nurse helped me to reconnect with why I am in health care I want to be a part of a system where every.
Interaction has a person at the center of it so Deana story really tells us how many.
Of us can get disconnected being in health care and.
Our comments I’m sure resonates with many of us who are in the healthcare field because we know about compassion fatigue we know about the potential burnout for our staff because it grinds you right it can drain you of your compassion and empathy.
And so you know many respects a video like this can perhaps can serve as a reminder of why we’re in health care in the first place so.
A story telling really brings to the forefront a very much of emotional piece of what we do and by doing so we believe that everyone in Alberta Health Services not just the care providers but those who actually support the care well remember that we don’t care for patients or home care clients or continuing care residents or visitor’s try public health facilities we care for all burton’s we care for parents and grandparents for brothers and sisters for husbands and wives for.
Friends and neighbors we care for people who all have their unique stories to tell and their own expectations for the health systems and you know for many of these Albertans they don’t want or expect their health care providers to perform.
Cartwheels they basically want kindness respect consideration they want to be heard they want to feel like they’re at the center of.
Care team and they want to know that their voice matters so in essence that really is the core of patient and family-centered care so I hope that you get a chance to see our digital.
Stories I think they send a very strong message that Alberta Health Services cares about what happens to the people that we serve that we are a learning organization that wants to see how we can improve and that.
Yes patients and families are involved in our planning programs in our services and developing policy in designing our infrastructure and really everything that we do within the organization’s and that the digital.
Stories are a very good educational tool for Albertans they show the complexity of the healthcare system but also the complexities of being a patient or becoming a family member who’s sick and I believe that through watching our digital stories that.
People can learn a lot about what it means to be a patient but also.
What it means to be a healthcare provider so Robert McKee is a creative writing instructor and author of a very influential guide to screenwriting and said that storytelling is really the most powerful way to put ideas into the.
World today but really it is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world humans are wired for storytelling it’s long historical context I mean why else would humans feel concern and empathy for characters in a work of fiction that don’t exist I mean I honestly still cry if I watch Bambi and see the death of the mother when you read a book and you can’t put it down because you feel connected.
To the characters and honestly if the story is compelling enough you know these characters live through us and with us.
And we often turn to these fictional characters for guidance and strength or wisdom so within healthcare doesn’t it make sense that storytelling enables us then to bring a human face to illness and injury so when. Smith in unit 34 with cardiac disease and diabetes it’s.
Not so much that she’s got diabetes and hypertension but she’s a grandmother five and a retired schoolteacher who loves to bake and when we talk about Shelley it’s not so much that she had a pulmonary embolism and needed to have her foot amputated is that she loves to ride motorcycles and fly fish and even though she’s got a tough exterior she’s.
Got Ashley soft interior and when we know these details about patients it’s not about what matters with them but what matters to them were in such a better place to actually look after patients and families so story telling us but one way for us.
To shift our thinking and we know that research shows that people who speak a common language when they share stories and that this helps everyone involved makes sense.
Sometimes of often difficult and traumatic situations our storytelling capacity has grown in many years and I’m pleased to see that we have other HS departments as well as external partners have jumped onboard themselves so we’re going to show you another video I think this is maybe our last one and this is actually a video from one of our foundations I saw a fish this morning with that name why don’t you paint starting to subside bed management Michelle speaking okay it’s a.
Patient’s name McIntyre all right that’s a compassionate bed let me see what I can do just need help this hallway down there and follow signs to Robin so please don’t don’t just let me take we threw up together together I just wanna stay here why don’t we wait here no I can’t actually watch it because I get choked e1i so I you know what I always kept my this was actually an award-winning video that was done by the world Alex Hospital Foundation about two years ago and.
Really was aimed to use storytelling to show people.
The difference between providing care and truly caring for patients and families and as a consequence.
Of that we’ve actually launched our own because you care to series and these videos really were launched to really showcase albertans thanking their healthcare teams for exceptional and often life-saving and life-changing care the videos have been really popular with our staff and physicians and volunteers but also with Albertans and actually have.
Been viewed more than a million times so if they’re on our website but they’re also on our HS channel on youtube did you know that there was a HS channel on youtube i guess you do now so if you want to take a look and in fact we’re actually making some inroads about you know engaging patients working alongside clinicians and researchers and policy makers so that as we drive research and innovation patients are at the forefront of any of the decisions that are made so I just want.
To also say that you know there have been some symposiums and forums where we really brought patients and family advisors and collaboration with experts physicians nurses healthcare administrators scientists where.
Patients and Families share stories of their experiences as members not only at the audience but also Ashley within the panel and I just want to share some comments from patients from those sessions one said you know I was comforted by people I didn’t know and it was horrible because.
All I wanted was my brother if the staff had asked who do you want here I would have sent my brother and my healthcare experience would have been different and this one remark really resonated with a nurse in the audience for one of these sessions and really does transform the way when we actually ask the questions about what matters to you instead of.
Making assumptions and these types of the events have been sponsored by the Canadian Institute for Health Research along with the Canadian critical care trials group and our own critical care and I think it’s through these types of dialogues that really encourages our academic collect collaborations with the universities.
As well as our partners where we can actually learn from the people that we serve so this is the way that we practice healthcare within Alberta Health Services it’s not a new thing.
It’s more of a way of being we’re trying to blend storytelling in with our big initiatives around team-based care and collaborative practice and we’re sharing patient and founding stories because we know they Foster and understanding and empathy about what it means when we’re sick what it means to be at the most vulnerable in.
Our period it reminds us all that we are all.
Patients and Families ourselves and.
That we should not treat anybody any different than how we would treat our own family matter members it’s about understanding that every person that we serve has a story that every person.
That we serve has extenuating circumstances that we need to understand and that we need to understand the personal situation in order to provide truly holistic care we need to understand all of these and in my.
Own field as a children’s kidney specialist if I didn’t understand the family situation how the family supports providing Dallas’s for a baby.
How on earth can our team provide care for that individual and for the family and to support them there’s a woman by name of Josephine Billings who was a longtime volunteer advocate for improving health care in.
New York New York and she passed away in 2002 I think at the age of 90 97 and she said a quote that I honestly have to say is my favorite quote she said you know to the world you may be one person but to the one person you may be the world and that in itself says it all you know.
Health care is a privilege to be in I’ve always said that I’ve been very very lucky in my life to actually have the.
Privilege to be a health care practitioner patients and families and trust us with information that they wouldn’t even share with each other and.
Yet we are in that position of trust sometimes without even really spending a lot of time with people and what we do with that privilege really boils down to decisions that we make as healthcare workers and we need to model good behaviors and we need to.
Decisions and storytelling is a compelling way for us to do that and that’s a tool there isn’t a policy or a technology that can.
Do more to promote and understanding a patient family centered care through elder health system.
So I want to say thank you so much for your attention thank you so much for your interest in storytelling and I’m not going to answer all 300 questions but I’ll try to answer a few thank you so much.