Community Engagement a Priority for the Champlain LHIN
Doreen Rocque’s Journey – “Getting the input of the front-line user brings the system to life.”
Feb 16, 2017 - Almost two decades ago, Doreen Rocque became caregiver to her husband Blake, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She took care of him at home for 12 years until he moved into a long-term care home after a bad fall.
The experience taught her the importance of client and family engagement in shaping the health system. For the past eight years, even after Blake had passed away, Doreen has spent much of her time advocating for seniors and their caregivers.
|Doreen Rocque, Caregiver and
Champlain LHIN Advisor
In fact, Doreen helped create the Family and Friends Council at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, where Blake lived. The council gives feedback on proposed policies and suggests changes to daily care practices at the long-term care home.
Doreen then became involved in the region-wide Family Council Network, and later joined two committees of the Champlain LHIN. One is a network examining services for people with dementia, a crucial area of health care given the aging population. The other is a committee advising the LHIN on how to improve patient flow in emergency rooms and other areas of the hospital.
“Getting the input of the front-line user brings the health-care system to life,” Doreen says. “I don’t believe anyone goes to work thinking they would want to do a bad job. They all want to give their best and take care of the patients, the residents and their families along the way. . . But there is always room for improvement, and sometimes it might be an adjustment that doesn’t require money. It can be a change in attitude or change in approach, or putting a smile on your face instead of a frown.”
Community engagement is a priority for the Champlain LHIN, because it helps build a better health system.
Jessica Searson, Community Engagement Coordinator at the Champlain LHIN, says that meaningful public dialogue is a pre-requisite for creating a more person-centred health system. “Engaging with patients, clients, caregivers and family members - listening to their experiences and getting their input – informs our plans and decisions,” Jessica says.
To develop its latest strategic plan, for example, the LHIN received feedback from roughly 5,000 people in rural and urban areas. The LHIN has also reached out to populations through the Champlain Indigenous Health Circle Forum, the French Language Health Services Network of Eastern Ontario, and the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership. Additionally, the LHIN has brought in members of the public like Doreen to provide advice.
Since her early involvement with the Champlain Family Council Network, Doreen has noted significant progress in terms of how health partners are engaging with communities. “That is a strong leadership,” she says.
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In sum, Doreen’s journey as a caregiver and patient experience advisor has taught her the importance of sharing one’s story. “Having people listen to you and hear what you have experienced, that helps providers realize that there are areas that worked well and areas for improvement,” she explains. “Everybody’s journey is different.”