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Because your voice matters.

What Matters to You? Patients of All Ages Share Their Stories

Posted • Last updated

Categories: Campaigns, Improving Health Care, News & Events

On June 6, PVN teamed up with organizations and individuals across the province to ask a simple question: “What Matters to You?” As we mentioned here, the goal of the day was to encourage meaningful conversations between patients, families and caregivers, and their health care providers. Our engagement leader Leah Smith joined “What Matters to You?” Day activities in the Island Health region, so we asked her to tell us more about her amazing experience:

How did you participate in “What Matters to You?” Day?

“Our team included three staff and three patient partners from PVN, the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council and Island Health, collecting feedback from patients, families, caregivers and staff at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria General Hospital and Cowichan District Hospital. We received a very warm welcome at all three hospitals! We collected written responses from more than 60 people and had the privilege to have conversations with many more. We also encouraged people to think about what matters to them and ask others the same question.”

What did people tell you?

“Having a positive relationship with health care providers was very important to most people. Many described sensitivity, compassion, respect, kindness, partnership and clear communication as important in their relationship with their health care providers.

Patients and family members also told us that being able to access safe, appropriate care, from highly trained professionals, mattered to them. Perhaps most of all I was struck by the similarity of the responses we received and how closely they mirrored the definition of patient- and family-centred care.

Were there any conversations that stood out for you?

“People were very willing to share their personal experiences with health care and we heard a lot of really positive feedback, as well as some opportunities for improvement. I spoke with a woman who told me that she lives in a rural part of Vancouver Island and doesn’t own a car. She shared that it can be difficult to get to appointments and maintain a positive relationship with her health care providers because she frequently cancels appointments and doesn’t always feel welcome to reschedule.

In my role as an engagement leader, I often think about barriers that might make it difficult for some patient partners to participate in engagement opportunities. Although many of us are working toward similar goals, we experience unique challenges in our ability to participate. “What Matters to You?”(WMTY) Day reminded me of the importance of making time to get to know people and learning what is important to them so that I can be a more effective partner.”

Young Patients answering what matters to them during WMTY17
Leah’s son showing what matters to him

You shared a picture of your son’s response to what matters to him. Can you tell a little bit about that?

“My son recently had his first visit to the emergency department. To be completely honest, I didn’t know if the question would really mean much to a kindergartener, but there was no hesitation and he replied, “That I get everything done right. And I also hope that I don’t get any shots.”

I would encourage others to take a minute and ask, “What matters to you?” You might be surprised by what you hear!”

Leah and the team put together a list with the most popular responses from WMTY Day organized under themes, check it out:

Positive Relationships

  • Sensitivity
  • Compassion
  • Partnerships with patients and families
  • Respect
  • Rapport
  • Connection
  • Relationship-building
  • Empathy
  • Humility
  • Kindness
  • Don’t judge and openness
  • Authenticity
  • Vulnerability
  • Being seen as a person, not as a collection of jab points
  • Love – for yourself and others


  • Communication
  • Clear communication
  • One-to-one communication
  • Transparency
  • Care providers who ask questions and listen to your answers
  • Understanding the plan and being kept updated

Providers, Skill & Training

  • Competency
  • Knowledge
  • More staff
  • More nurses to care for patients
  • Training and education for health care providers
  • Highly-skilled, even if bedside manner not great!

Access & Appropriateness

  • Timing & access
  • Accessing the right treatment and services
  • Seamless movement in patient care, mental health, community, residential care
  • Transportation (from rural areas or via ferry)
  • Parking

Language & Culture

  • Cultural awareness
  • Bridging the language barrier
Visual summary of all the responses collected from patients, families, and caregivers in three Island Health locations

Child & Youth

  • Not dying
  • No needles

Stand Alone Comments

  • Patient safety
  • Confidentiality
  • Pain management and control
  • Health
  • Getting better
  • Going home

Share your stories with us!

Did you engage in conversations on “What Matters to You?” Day? Did you learn anything new? We’re working on collecting stories from the campaign, and would love to hear from you! Tell your story in the comment box below or fill out this simple form to share your experience with us.


From Our Community

Lisa Dyck

Former Manager, BC Emergency Medicine Network

Lisa Dyck

PVN patient partner’s feedback has reinforced the important relationships between patients and providers for emergency care. Our partnership with PVN has brought many new opportunities to adjust how health care and patient partners can work together on BC Emergency Medicine Network priorities.