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June 2013
Experiences of hospital-acquired infections
Jun 18, 2013 9:00 AM

OPEN MEETING: On June 17th, we held an open meeting to discuss experiences of hospital-acquired infection, the frequency and causes of these infections, and what we, as healthcare consumers, can do to decrease the risks of readmission.

The unfortunate reality is that hospital-acquired infections are estimated to cause 8,000 to 12,000 deaths a year in Canada, so as a group we decided to focus on patient stories to highlight gaps in patient safety. We compared hospital practices and policies surrounding patient engagement and infection control, and came to some surprising conclusions. For example, although patient safety is everyone's problem there are too few public engagement initiatives on handwashing. Additionally, many drew a blank when asked how their respective hospitals disseminate public information on infection control. Do we need greater public awareness and engagement in and out of hospitals?

Alerting visitors of current infections upon entrance is a quick and painless way to positively affect handwashing behavior. Similarly, hospitals should promote their tally of days 'infection free', which both rewards the institution and reminds visitors that they are a part of the solution.

Here's an example of how a Toronto-based hospital thought 'outside the box' for infection control incentives.

Additionally, we discussed how there is an opportunity to introduce Key Performance Indicators that measure whether these processes that work to prevent infection are in place.

Twitter was used throughout the meeting to share discussion topics and comments, and to pose questions to participating members across Canada. We invite you to check out the hashtag #PACattends to view up-to-date posts on our activities. Here are some highlights from the evening's online discussion via @PatientsAssocCa:

'Patients must be made aware of earliest signs of infection', especially upon release.'

'How does your hospital disseminate msgs about infections?'

'Finding solutions for different types of hospitals, from downtown to rural. Meaningful metrics and expectations created /w patients.'

'How aware are you of your hospital's current infections? does it display upon entrance? let's talk about changing behaviors.'

'Patient is assumed to be comatose or dead, as victims of HAIs', few expectations of patients in helping to reduce risks.'

'Building community awareness about handwashing and avoiding hospitals when you suspect illness. little steps, big changes!'

ALL, Our Open Meetings, Patient safety  

Exceeding patient expectations
Jun 17, 2013 11:11 AM


SUMMARY: Most healthcare systems are working hard to exceed their patients’ expectations and understand that the long term benefits to the patient and organization are manifold. Read which strategic objectives can lead to a state-of-the-art service model, and better healthcare experiences overall.

ALL, About the healthcare system  
February 2013

Drawing your patient experience
Feb 26, 2013 11:47 PM

At our February 25th Open Meeting, renowned Art Therapist Linda Nicholas facilitated a workshop on telling the patient experiencewith healthcare through graphic expression. For anyone unfamiliar with art as a therapeutic technique, the method is generally understood in two ways: to treat the art-making process as therapeutic in itself, or by using art to facilitate the transference process between the therapist and the client making art.

Whether experienced directly or through another, healthcare experiences can be traumatic. Most of us are used to telling our patient stories through verbal communication, but words can hinder and place articificial cielings on expression whereas drawing reveals nuaunces and intricate details that exist below the surface.

With Linda's direction it became clear that the insights lie in the unintentionality of the drawing process. So, when participants say 'it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to' - and this happened a lot - Linda would say that there are no accidents in drawing. Seemingly unimportant details in the drawing can uncover discrepancies in what we believed was the case - what our memory stored - and what actually happened, offering a fresh perspective on an experience.

The positive feedback was overwhelming. One member thought the workshop stood apart from other Patients' Association meetings as 'looking at a familiar story in a whole different light gained new and unexpected insights.' We're delighted that everyone enjoyed the session and we look forward to offering similarly engaging sessions in the future - stay tuned!

You can read more on Linda Nicholas and her book "Drawing out the Self" here.

ALL, How to tell patient stories, Our Open Meetings  
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