Held annually by the HQCA and its Patient and Family Advisory Committee, the Patient Experience Awards celebrate and help spread knowledge about projects or programs that improve the patient experience in accessing and receiving healthcare services.
We are proud to recognize these four initiatives as recipients of the 2023 awards.
2023 Patient Experience Award Recipients
Advanced Cancer Support in Virtual Rehabilitation and Exercise (ACTIVE-North), northern Alberta
ACTIVE-North is an eight-week interdisciplinary program offering individualized support in pain management and rehabilitation to northern Albertans with incurable cancer. Delivered to people in their homes via Zoom, it significantly reduces the travel burden for people in remote communities. Watch the uplifting story of a Grande Prairie woman who regained the energy to make music.
Discusses palliative cancer care.
Family Integrated Care, provincewide
Implemented in 14 neonatal ICUs in Alberta, Family Integrated Care has improved the experience of parents in feeling included in their preterm baby’s care. Hear from a dad who describes how the care of pre-term babies has changed since the birth of his first child.
Shows preterm infants in ICU.
Indigenous Support Line, Alberta Health Services Indigenous Wellness Core, northern and southern Alberta The first of its kind in Canada, the Indigenous Support Line is a toll-free, confidential phone service that connects Indigenous callers and service providers with Indigenous health professionals. Learn how the line is providing culturally respectful support and helping change the experience of Indigenous patients.
Discusses past trauma in healthcare.
Pediatric Eating and Swallowing Project (PEAS), provincewide The Pediatric Eating and Swallowing (PEAS) Project grew from a strong desire to improve care for children who have a feeding disorder. An estimated 35 per cent of typically developing children and 80 per cent of developmentally vulnerable children have eating and swallowing difficulties, associated with significant health risks, family stress, and expense. Hear one family’s heartwarming experience getting help for their young daughter.
2023 Distinguished Initiatives
Two additional initiatives are being highlighted for their work to improve the patient and family experience.
Telemonitoring to Reduce Adverse Events for Hospitalized Patients, University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton
To improve patient safety, telemonitoring was introduced for at-risk patients on high-flow oxygen. Sometimes, patients inadvertently remove their oxygen mask while asleep. If that goes unnoticed, their oxygen saturation level may fall dangerously low. To ensure constant monitoring, portable cameras are set up at the bedside, sending a live video feed to a trained attendant who continuously monitors multiple patients and can notify a nurse when something goes wrong. In one year, telemonitoring detected 162 times in which patients removed their oxygen and 954 instances where a patient’s oxygen level fell too low. The number of patient falls declined by 75% and there were fewer transfers to ICU. Patients and caregivers say telemonitoring reduces anxiety and enhances overall patient experience.
Congruence Couples Therapy initiative at Addiction Services, Edmonton
Congruence Couples Therapy is an enhancement to existing services within Addiction Services Edmonton that combines addiction and couples counselling to include the client’s partner when appropriate. In the traditional approach to addiction treatment, clients and partners were seen separately. Without a coordinated plan for recovery and relapse prevention, couples often grew farther apart. Using this innovative, evidence-based model, couples work together to create a coordinated recovery plan, align expectations, and resolve challenging issues. This relationship-based approach has led to significantly improved symptoms in addiction, as well as better outcomes in mental health, emotion regulation, and reduced life stress, helping couples embark on a joint journey toward sustainable recovery.
Complex Care Hub – Rockyview General Hospital and South Health Campus, Calgary
The Complex Care Hub provides a Home Hospital care model as an alternative to traditional hospitalization for patients with complex conditions who require hospital-level care but are able to sleep at home. Watch how they supported a young mom experiencing a difficult pregnancy.
Infant Preschool Assessment Service (IPAS) at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton
The IPAS team sought to improve access to early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, made more difficult during the COVID pandemic, by developing a tool for virtual assessment. Hear one family’s experience getting help for their young son.
Real-time integration of radiology, surgery, and pathology for early breast cancer patients is reducing the frequency of repeat surgery for patients. Watch the uplifting story of one woman with a family history of cancer whose own experience was made better through this program.
Low-Stimulus Immunization Clinic – Public Health, Vaccination Services, Calgary Zone
This clinic was created in 2021 to support neurologically diverse clients in accessing COVID-19 immunizations. Clients include those with severe needle phobias, PTSD, autism, and a variety of other neurodiversities. Learn how they helped a young teen overcome his severe needle phobia.
Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) two adolescent mental health units at the Foothills Medical Centre collaborated with patients, family, staff, and community artists to design and create the Hope Hallway. The Hope Hallway transforms the traditional, institutionalized feel of the hospital to one that is teen-friendly, hopeful, comforting, and engaging. Content includes discussion of mental illness/hospitalization.
The medical assistance in dying (MAID) program at AgeCare provides residents with compassionate end-of-life care in a peaceful and supportive space, surrounded by the people most important to them. The COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges for residents across Alberta seeking MAID. AgeCare acted quickly and worked with the MAID navigation team at Alberta Health Services to continue to accept transfers for MAID by providing a dedicated space for transfers during the pandemic, ensuring the safety and comfort of all involved. Content includes a setting for medical assistance in dying.
The Life Medical Clinic and McLeod River Primary Care Network are working together to reduce the impact of financial strain (RIFS) on their patients. They developed and implemented a screening tool that creates a safe space to have a conversation with a patient about the impact of finances on their health. The clinic worked closely with the Alberta Health Services Health Promotions team to map the local agencies who could provide appropriate supports for each patient.
The Stollery Children’s Hospital Patient and Family Centred Care team facilitated conversations with families of medically complex children to understand how they were uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions and quarantine, and created a series of virtual caregiver support sessions. This AHS initiative created a virtual community to help families cope and navigate challenges with supportive peers and providers through the pandemic. Content includes discussion of pandemic stress/isolation.
Remote monitoring for patients living with cardiac implantable electrical device (CIED)
The Performance Evaluation and Rhythm Follow-up Optimization through Remote Monitoring (PERFORM) team implemented remote monitoring for patients living with a cardiac implantable electrical device (CIED) more consistently across Alberta. Using remote monitoring, CIEDs can be connected at any time, wherever a cellular or WiFi network exists. This allows patients to be evaluated in their home to a similar extent as in a specialty face to face clinic visit, increasing access to appropriate and acceptable care in the community and without subjecting patients to excessive infectious risks as in the current pandemic.
The Virtual Opioid Dependency Program (VODP) uses a completely virtual clinic model to connect a doctor-led, multidisciplinary team with clients referred for opioid agonist therapy (OAT; e.g., methadone or buprenorphine/naloxone). Assessment, treatment, and support are provided via videoconference, telephone, and texting, and are delivered in conjunction with a pharmacist in the local area for OAT medication dispensing.If you are in Alberta and need support for yourself or a loved one, you can call the VODP team at 1-844-383-7688.
The Wetaskiwin Primary Care Network (PCN) Prenatal Program, in collaboration with the University of Alberta and the Cree communities of Maskwacis, established the Elders Mentoring Program. Through the program, several Elders and grandmothers from Maskwacis work alongside staff to provide additional, culturally appropriate supports to Indigenous pregnant women and their partners in their prenatal clinic.
Provincial Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Delirium Initiative
In partnership with Alberta’s critical care community, the Critical Care Strategic Clinical Network (CCSCN) led and facilitated the highly collaborative Provincial Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Delirium Initiative. This initiative team engaged patient and family advisors, operational leaders, and front-line healthcare professionals across Alberta Health Services to design, adapt, and implement leading practices for the prevention and management of ICU-associated delirium into the Alberta context. These efforts resulted in a standardized provincial approach to this aspect of care in both adult and pediatric critical care settings.