Patient Advisor & Inaugural Member of the Patient and Family Advisory Council, North York General Hospital
Patricia Mackey, now deceased, was an inaugural member of the North York General Hospital’s (NYGH) Patient and Family Advisory Council, and a patient advisor. Diagnosed and treated for breast cancer at NYGH in 2009, she reluctantly agreed to apply for the position of patient advisor in 2012. Though initially concerned that she might not have much to offer, Patricia quickly became an inspiration, friend, and enthusiast to those she touched in her role, as well as a lauded member of the hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Council.
Despite being diagnosed with a recurrence of her breast cancer in December 2012, Patricia continued to play an integral role at NYGH. In March 2013, she began working with a staff member over a period of nine months to record her thoughts on what it was like living with a terminal illness, her opinion on the role of patient and family advisors, and stories about where she received (and didn’t receive) patient and family-centred care. The first video, entitled “Living with a terminal cancer diagnosis”, was posted on YouTube in February 2014 and has since been viewed over 5,000 times. By sharing her personal health care journey and experience, Patricia hoped patients and families would hear a firsthand account that “palliative care is about finding energy and joy in your day – not focusing on the illness.”
In recognition of Patricia’s contributions to furthering patient- and family-centred care, her family established The Patricia Mackey Patient- and Family-Centred Care Educational Award. Over $120,000 has been raised to date to establish an annual Patient- and Family-Centred Care Education Day at NYGH where experts visit and share the latest developments in the field. The award also provides professional development in the form of workshops or other forums in patient- and family-centred care for up to two staff members, physicians, volunteers or patient and family advisors from any area in the hospital.
By sharing her health care journey, Patricia has made a valuable impact on NYGH’s culture of patient- and family-centred care. Her work reinforces the important role of each health care team member in shaping the patient experience. There is no doubt that her contributions to the hospital will have a lasting impact.