When Glenn McRae became the Executive Director for Quality and Patient Safety at Interior Health, he knew there was an opportunity to improve its person- and family-centred care culture. A key issue was that the Person- and Family-Centred Care Steering Committee’s influence was limited within the health authority, despite involvement from dedicated volunteers, and this limited the patient voice.
Glenn reinvigorated the committee by establishing himself and a public partner as co-chairs, and placing himself in a supportive, rather than leadership, role. Together, they restructured the committee, strengthened its membership and enabled the patient voice to influence health authority decisions.
A Family Presence policy was the first project that the renewed committee tackled. With Glenn’s leadership, and with patient/public partners providing expertise and advocacy, a new version was drafted, endorsed and accepted in Interior Health. Patient/Public partners were present at every stage including leading the presentation to the Senior Executive Team. Now, the organization recognizes essential caregivers as part of the care team and this framework has been adopted and supported throughout the region.
Outside of the committee, Glenn’s advocacy to improve culture was enduring. Patient and public partners are now involved in many aspects of safety work: they co-teach courses on how to disclose harm to patients and families, and train alongside patient safety investigators as they learn new models for safety reviews, among many others. Plus, patients and families have presented to Interior Health’s board of directors with their suggestions for improvement. These presentations have been warmly received, indicating that the entire health authority supports Glenn’s mission.
Whenever Glenn speaks at meetings or conferences or responds to patient concerns, his message remains consistent: improvements in quality of care will only happen through authentic engagement with patient and public partners across the health authority. Through his unwavering commitment to improving culture by and with patients, he has led a foundational shift throughout Interior Health where patient and public partners’ input is now actively sought out and prioritized.