January 26, 2016 7:50 pm
Updated: January 27, 2016 12:13 am

St. Paul’s Hospital makes patient-centred care a priority

WATCH: Long before construction starts on its new location, St. Paul's Hospital is already experimenting with a new kind of patient care. Randene Neill explains why it's unlike anything patients have seen before.

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It’s lunchtime at St. Paul Hospital’s Maternity Ward and shortly after noon, a smiling woman knocks on each private room, asking the new moms what they would like for lunch.

On the menu today:  turkey, roast beef or egg salad sandwiches, two types of soup, and a fresh spinach salad with strawberries.

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“We asked the patients, the new moms, what they wanted,” says Tiffany Yeung, Managing Director of Sodexo.  “They said they wanted to see fresh food choices.  So we make all of our food onsite, with fresh options for them.”

Currently, the Hostess program is only available on the maternity ward, but it will be offered to the entire hospital beginning this summer.  It’s part of St. Paul’s Hospital’s patient-centred care model that believes by including patients and their families in their own health care choices, the patients tend to heal more quickly.

“The question is, how do we really involve the patient and have a true partnership?” asks Candy Garossino, Director of Professional Practice and Nursing at St. Paul’s.

“It’s different than you coming in and we say ‘we know what’s best for you. You will be here for 3 days and do you have any questions?’  It’s very different when we involve you as a partner.”

The patient care model will be an integral part of the new hospital, when it’s completed in roughly eight years.  But initiatives are already underway at the current site.  Four years ago, the hospital opened its first All Nations Sacred Space.

“For many years, First Nations have felt disrespected, stereotyped, and not valued,” says Carol Kellman, the nurse in charge of Sacred Space.  “Having a space where they feel welcome, it’s ground breaking.”

The space is available for healing ceremonies, including drumming and smudging.  There is traditional medicine on-site, like dried sage from Lillooet.  An estimated 800 patients, nurses and doctors have used the space since it opened.

A former patient admitted to St. Paul’s for a broken ankle, said the space helped her heal.

“To have something like that is phenomenal,” says Brandy Kane.  “I didn’t know it was here.  When I found out, and my sisters could come and participate with me in a healing ceremony, it meant so much.”

Other initiatives to help transform patient care that have already been implemented include scrapping visiting hours.  Families can now visit 24/7.  The new hospital will also have larger, private rooms for patients.  An electronic sign will be posted outside the post-op recovery room to let family members know if patients have finished their surgeries.

Those are just a few of the ideas that are still being brainstormed for the new hospital.

Community sessions are also starting up soon.  The hospital would like to hear from the public about what they would like to see in the new St. Paul’s.  You can find the meeting times and places here.

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