“I feel heard,” says Catherine Bourque.
Bourque is a Patient Partner with the Niagara Health Engagement Network (NHEN), a group in the Niagara Health community who are patients and/or family members that have received care and want to be actively involved in improving local healthcare. The CAR is currently developing a national CT Accreditation Program, now in the pilot stage at Niagara Health in the Niagara region, the central focus of which is to listen to and incorporate the input of patients requiring CT services.
Providing patient-centered care is critical to the CT accreditation process, and Bourque says she was incredibly fulfilled from being earnestly listened to by the medical and administrative professionals in charge of implementing the very same CT processes she needed.
“It was very gratifying to me when I saw my exact words displayed during the CAR Niagara Health pilot kickoff meeting,” she said. “I believe I brought a comprehensive perspective from inside the CT machine that you can’t appreciate or anticipate without personal experience.”
Mike Sharma, Director, Diagnostics at Niagara Health, says that the NHEN and Patient Partners like Bourque work together to ensure that decisions impacting patient care are made with patients in a meaningful and authentic way. “While we always strive to offer extraordinary care, partnering with patients allows us to enhance the services we offer to be truly patient-centered.”
Sharma says that for the NHEN, teaming up with patients and families that go through their services offers a unique lens that should never be taken for granted. “Working with our Patient Partners always reminds us of the why in what we are doing.”
The CT Accreditation Program and the NHEN have already produced meaningful improvements. One example of a small but notable change was displaying CT maintenance information in the CT room. “This is something we did not think to add to our CT rooms until a Patient Partner identified it as being important to them,” says Sharma.
Bourque has had many experiences with CT at Niagara Health’s Niagara Falls Site and St. Catharines Site. Her insights are based on multiple scans during the last few years until now, many of which are simple and easily implementable:
- Explain what contrast dye is and its potential effects. Advise on how to clear it from your system.
- Give a thorough explanation of what to expect while inside the CT machine.
- Ask patients if they have difficulty holding their breath.
- Be consistent in asking if the patient takes the medication Metformin.
- Offer pillows and/or bench pads to help alleviate pressure points like elbows, knees, and feet.
- Providing technologists with a vein finder could reduce pain.
- Post the service schedule for the machine in an easily visible position as done with fire extinguishers and other equipment.
Bourque says she is thankful for the opportunity to contribute to her local healthcare system in a positive manner. “I am very hopeful that future patients will benefit from the work that we did during the process.”
If you are interested in finding out more about the CAR’S CT Accreditation Program or other accreditation programs, please contact Marc Venturi, Director of Accreditation and Quality.