North East Toronto Health Link
One of the first acts of the North East Toronto Health Link was to form a Patients’ Advisory Council (PAC). In the spring of 2013, the Council was formed with patients, caregivers and a few providers. With the Health Link focused on providing individualized coordinated care planning to patients, PAC has been devoted to embedding the patient and caregiver voice in its clinical program.
Currently, a dozen patients, two providers and the Health Link director sit on PAC, which meets for two hours every two months. The caregiver co-chair also sits on the Health Link Advisory Council, representing PAC. The group aims to build the Health Link Program through the design of a care plan and focusing on transparency of patient information, co-design and quality improvement.
Since its inception, the Patients’ Advisory Council has:
- Co-designed a coordinated care plan that was piloted by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TC LHIN) and has helped inform the provincial coordinated care plan;
- Provided significant feedback on the Toronto Central Integrated Client Care Program, which ultimately shaped the initiative;
- Created a one-page card to help reduce the need for patients to repeat their stories to providers;
- Helped re-name NETHL’s real-time identification, flagging and notification system for patients who arrive in the Emergency Department and are candidates for care planning to the Better Care System;
- Advocated for transparent information – patients wanted to be told specifically why they were being contacted in the emergency department; and
- Program Evaluation: Created questions to evaluate the care planning taking place on patients enrolled in NETHL’s Better Care Program.
The impact of PAC has been very significant on NETHL. The group has helped the Health Link understand the importance of transparency of information, the experience of patients and caregivers, the need to be upfront and frank, and the importance of treating all patients as individuals. Their hard work and dedication should undoubtedly be applauded.