Alberta Cancer Foundation

Patient and Family Centred Care Week Is November 5 to 9

Since 2014, CancerControl Alberta has held an annual, week-long event in November that celebrates and raises awareness for patient/family-centred care (PFCC). PFCC is a health-care approach that ensures patients and family members are involved in decision-making processes, that their voices are heard, and that health-care staff act on what matters most to patients and their families.

According to Dorothy Rodehutskors, senior consultant of Provincial Patient and Family Engagement at CancerControl Alberta, patient/family-centred care is very much a part of the daily work of health-care providers.

“PFCC is keeping a patient’s points of view in mind, and then recognizing that the patient needs to be brought in as a partner in managing their own health,” says Rodehutskors. “For example, an Indigenous person’s spiritual practice and how they look at health care might be different from how we might typically look at it, but that outlook is still something that we try to keep in mind as we deliver care.”

This patient-centred caregiving method can greatly improve one’s experience with the health care system. Shaneel Pathak’s wife, Heing Taing, was diagnosed with lung cancer and received treatment at Calgary’s Tom Baker Cancer Centre. During her treatment, the couple developed a trusting relationship with the
centre’s medical staff and had back-and-forth dialogue about treatment options.

“Kate Butler, our oncology nurse for over three years, advocated for us and was our voice in the system,” says Pathak. “We believed in the circadian timing [the body’s natural awake and sleep cycles] of administering chemotherapy treatment and Kate scheduled the treatment for when we felt best.”

Though PFCC is meant to be a daily practice for Alberta health-care professionals, CancerControl Alberta’s annual Patient and Family Centred Care Week brings added awareness to this method of care, with activities and resources for Alberta Health Services staff, leadership, patients and family members.

Held at Calgary’s Tom Baker Cancer Centre and Edmonton’s Cross Cancer Institute, past events during PFCC Weeks have included speaker sessions, educational webinars, and the sharing of personal reflections by patients, family members and health-care providers. Last year, PFCC Week also featured a Patient Experience Digital Story Film Festival, where patient-made videos capturing their experience with the health care system were shared and discussed.

This year’s PFCC Week, which will be held at all CancerControl Alberta facilities in the province, runs November 5 to 9, and the theme is “Care is a Family Affair.” Various activities and sessions will focus on embracing who patients identify as their family members and part of their care team, celebrating the diversity of today’s family unit, and adopting care practices that make all families feel respected and welcome.

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