Formed in 2012, the Northumberland Partners Advancing Transitions in Healthcare (PATH) project is a true first in Ontario.
It is a system-wide venture that brings together 12 healthcare organizations and patient advocacy groups, over 160 patients and caregivers, 31 volunteer transition coaches and 135 healthcare providers.
Driven by a common goal to improve experiences and, specifically, transitions for seniors in the Northumberland community as they move in, out of and across the healthcare system, PATH is testing a process called “experience-based co-design”—an approach to planning that includes patients and caregivers as equal partners in decision making to prompt system-wide change.
Over the past two years, patients, caregivers and providers have co-designed the following PATH solutions:
- Connectivity – local seniors involved in the project are using a patient / provider portal coupled with mobile technology to store their personal health story, monitor their chronic health conditions and communicate with their healthcare providers
- Information/planning – a new web-based resource, pathwaytoagingwell.com, has been created with information, planning tools and resources to minimize, for seniors and their caregivers, the health-related challenges that often come hand-in-hand with our later years
- Volunteer Transition Coaches – 31 volunteer transition coaches have been recruited, trained and assigned to seniors in the community to help support those with the new technology tools and those who might not have support from family members or others as they manage the numerous transitions across the healthcare system
- Person-Centred Care – a Person-Centred Care Model has been developed and, related to this, a Patient and Family Advisory Model is being developed to help healthcare providers tap into and use input from patients and their caregivers
The RISE team, a small and very committed group of local residents, has been part of the PATH project since its inception, sharing personal healthcare experiences as patients and caregivers for the benefit of others.
Initially set up as a support system for the seniors and caregivers working on PATH, the RISE Team—which stands for Respect, Information, Support and Empowerment—has become much more than originally intended. The “nucleus” where ideas are generated, tested and improved, RISE Team members are informing all aspects of PATH, ensuring the patient and caregiver voice is heard.
The PATH project is a made-in-Ontario healthcare initiative, focused on listening and learning from patient experiences to make changes in the local healthcare system to better meet the needs and improve experiences of seniors and their caregivers. This project has shown that by building credibility, trust and hope within a community, we can work collaboratively to improve health care.