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Patient Partner, Costs of Travelling for Surgical Care Rural Working Group

Posted • Last updated


Open to Provincial Region, Patient partners across the province

Last updated

Those in rural communities often have to travel to receive surgical and obstetrical services. Help develop and deliver a survey so the Rural Surgical and Obstetrical Network can better understand these costs.

Open to: Patient partners across the province

Lead Organization or Department

Centre for Rural Health Research, UBC


The Rural Surgical and Obstetrical Network (RSON) evaluation will assess the function and impact of new, innovative networks that aim to help sustain surgical and obstetrical services in rural BC. One component of the evaluation is to capture out of pocket costs associated with travelling for surgical and/or obstetrical care through an online survey. We aim to ensure the designed survey is appropriate and accurately captures out of pocket costs for rural residents by engaging patient partners during the design and pilot testing of the survey, based on data collected through qualitative interviews. The patient partner will serve for approximately one year. The patient partner will: 1. Participate (by telephone) in the monthly project planning and execution meetings. 2. Review content/reports generated from qualitative analysis and provide feedback around contextual relevance to rural communities. 3. Travel and assist facilitating one workshop to obtain feedback from rural residents on a survey designed to capture out of pocket costs related to traveling for surgical care. 4. Assist with booking and organizing workshops. 5. Assist with recruitment for workshops through community specific Facebook pages, newspapers, and posters. 6. Assist in developing knowledge translation materials.

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.


  • Experience needing to travel for surgical and/or obstetrical care while a resident of rural BC OR experience traveling with a close family member or friend during her/his surgical or obstetrical care while s/he was a rural resident of BC.
  • An interest in improving access to rural health care
If you have a strong interest in this work but have not yet completed a PVN orientation and volunteer agreement, are unsure if your experience is a good fit or feel another format of engagement would work better with your availability, please contact the engagement leader directly.


  • Vacancies: 4
  • Dates and times: We anticipate the engagement to start as soon as patient partners have been confirmed and will last approximately one year. Monthly team meeting will be scheduled according to availability and will not exceed 30 minutes in duration. Workshops will be scheduled at a time and place that is convenient for you. Total time commitment is 7 months to a year.
  • Location: Each patient partner will assist in facilitating one workshop with rural citizens at a time and place yet to be determined. Monthly team meetings will occur over telephone, with the potential for in-person if possible.
Other: Reviewing content produced to provide a rural perspective will be needed occasionally with a timeline that will be discussed


Eligible out-of-pocket expenses such as parking, mileage, food, and accommodation to assist facilitating the workshops will be reimbursed according to policies of the University of British Columbia (UBC). Other eligible expenses (e.g. telephone costs) will be discussed with the main contact on the research team. Reimbursement typically takes 4-6 weeks after receipt of the expense claim.


The Rural Surgical and Obstetrical Network (RSON) initiative is in response to the closure of surgical services in rural communities of BC. Closure of rural surgical programs is linked to the loss of caesarean delivery capacity and subsequent closure of maternity programs. Research shows that rural women who have to travel outside of their communities to access maternity services are at increased risk of adverse maternal and newborn outcomes. Evaluating the function and impact of RSONs is important for accountability and program planning. One of the important considerations for rural patients is the out of pocket costs associated with traveling for surgical care. At the moment, there is a lack of research to understand the type and extent of these costs. This is concerning as these costs are often substantial and may impact the ability to receive surgical care. Designing a survey to accurately capture these costs is essential to determine the impact of providing surgical care closer to home for rural residents.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Kathryn Proudfoot
Engagement Leader, Patient & Public Engagement | Provincial

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.