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Because your voice matters.

Patient Advisor – Get the Message? Improving Access to Virtual Health Care for Older Adults

Posted • Last updated


Commitment: Long-term

Connection method: Virtual

Open to Fraser Valley & Lower Mainland

Last updated

Volunteer Opportunity
The use of virtual messaging services in health care is one way Fraser Health is delivering services. Help ensure the experience and needs of older adults are understood by partnering with the research team.


Lead Organization/Department
Fraser Health

• To improve equitable access to virtual messaging services (such as text messaging) for underrepresented older adults.
• Patient partners will partner with the research team to explore the priorities, needs, and experiences of older adults from diverse cultures.

Level of Engagement
This opportunity is at the level of involve on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that the health care partner will involve patients in planning and design phases to ensure ideas or concerns are considered and reflected in alternatives and recommendations.

Open to volunteers from across the province who:
• Are older adults within Fraser Health or caregivers to older adults that represent diverse cultures.
• Are comfortable talking about how and where they seek medical advice.
• Have access to a telephone or computer for videoconferencing.

• Number of vacancies: 3
• Date/Time: Meeting dates and times will be coordinated based upon the availability of all team members. The goal is to host monthly meetings with the opportunity to provide feedback between the meetings.
• Commitment: Over a year.
• Location: Teleconference.

If required, travel expenses will be reimbursed.

The Fraser Health Authority services the greatest number of older adults among health authorities within BC (182,845 seniors). Use of virtual care within Fraser Health significantly increased in the past few years due to COVID-19. To improve healthcare services and avoid unnecessary contact among older adults, primary healthcare providers employed virtual solutions for remote triage, consultation, monitoring, and prescribing. While virtual care services show promise, voices from underrepresented groups of older adults (e.g., visible minorities, people living with disabilities) are often excluded from the design and evaluation of virtual healthcare initiatives, and this sudden shift resulted in increased marginalization of older adults.

This research includes 4 studies that will be carried out over the next 3 years. Overall, this work aims to understand how to use text messaging (or other virtual messaging services) to engage with underrepresented older adults. Results will be used to inform policy and improve equitable access to care within Fraser Health.

Project team:
In addition to the research team outlined below, this work includes a number of Fraser Health staff from patient engagement, Virtual Health, and Long-term care within an advisory committee.

Research team:
Megan MacPherson, Reg OT (BC) PhD; Regional Practice Lead, Research and Knowledge Translation for the Virtual Health Team at Fraser Health.
Lillian Hung, RN, PhD; Assistant Professor in UBC School of Nursing
Kirsten Rossiter, PhD; Regional Practice Lead, Research and Knowledge Translation for Long-Term Care
Sherin Jamal, PhD; Research Associate Long-Term Care & Assisted Living (LTC-AL)
Robert Paquin, RN, MSc; King’s College London
Janice Sorensen RD, PhD; Leader Clinical Research Long-Term Care & Assisted Living (LTC-AL)
Richard Lester, MD; UBC
Akber Mithani; Regional Medical Director Long-Term Care & Assisted Living (LTC-AL); University of British Columbia – Associate Professor in Geriatric Psychiatry
Valorie Crook, PhD; Simon Fraser University – Professor in the Department of Geography, Canada Research Chair, and Associate Dean

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Jami Brown | BA, MAPC (she/her/hers) Engagement Leader BC Patient Safety & Quality Council 604.510.0449

From Our Community

Jeanette Foreman

Northwest Quality Improvement Lead, Quality and Innovation, Northern Health

Jeanette Forman

PVN has really helped us engage with patient partners to improve health services at Northern Health.  It is more and more becoming the norm to include patients in the design, delivery and evaluation of health services.  PVN education and supports, involving patient partners, have enabled us to develop the capacity to include the patient voice to make care better and achieve better health outcomes.