Network seeks to improve B.C.’s health

 Village councillor encourages people in the Lakes District to get involved.

Patients, caregivers and families are using their experiences to influence change in B.C.’s health care system through a network called Patients as Partners/Patient Voices Network (PasP/PVN).

Through this network, people have the opportunity to work openly and collaboratively with decision-makers by lending their voice to important discussions around health care service delivery.

“It’s not very often that we, as users of the medical system, get asked for our feedback to improve it,” said village councillor Susan Schienbein.

Since its inception in 2009, the network has gathered over 1500 members around the province. However, Schienbein is the one volunteer in the Lakes District. Schienbein has been involved with PasP/PVN since June 2012, and she is now spreading the work to gather more volunteers in the area.

“I think that any person who is interested in improving health outcomes, particularly in our area, should consider becoming a volunteer,” she said. “I really encourage people to pick up the phone and get involved now.”

According to Schienbein, many of the engagement processes can happen from people’s home computer.

“With the increasing demands and costs of an aging demographic, we all need to play a role in making healthcare better,” she said. “This network gives us that opportunity.”

Patients as Partners | Patient Voices Network  believes that patients are experts in their own lives, being able to provide health system administrators

and care providers important information about how to best serve them and involve them as partners in their own care.

“As a volunteer who lives in a rural, and sometimes remote community, I’m always looking at improvements that will make a difference for our community,” said Schienbein. “I put a rural lens on

all the opportunities I participate in.”

An orientation session will take place in Prince George on June 13, 2015, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. People interested in attending the event should contact Anthony Gagné by e-mail at agagne@impactbc.ca or call 250-961-5156. Travel expenses will be reimbursed.

Patient as Partners/Patient Voices Network is a Ministry of Health, Patient as Partners initiative administered by ImpactBC. Its work is guided by a diverse steering committee that includes health authority representatives, health care providers, and a range of patient partners.

Any B.C. resident over 19 years of age is eligible to join the PasP/PVN network. Visit www.patientsaspartners.ca/network.