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Because your voice matters.

Patient Partner, Lumbar Puncture in the Emergency Department Quality Improvement Project

Posted • Last updated


Commitment: Short-term

Connection method: Virtual

Open to Vancouver Island Region

Last updated

Volunteer Opportunity
Have you or a family member been to an Emergency Department and received a lumbar puncture (spinal tap)? We’re hoping to hear from you to improve our quality of care and services!


Lead Organization/Department
Island Health, Victoria General Hospital Emergency Department

Our aim is to reduce the turn-around-time for laboratory tests being performed following a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) when visiting an Emergency Department. The role of a patient partner would be to participate in a short, one on one, focused interview (1 hour max), to share your experiences and your perspectives to help health care providers understand what matters most to patient partners.

Level of Engagement
This opportunity is at the level of consult on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that the health care partner will listen to and acknowledge your ideas and concerns, and provide feedback on how your input affected the decision.

• Open to patient partners from: across the Vancouver Island region
• Experience (personal or family) receiving care from an Emergency Department.
• Experience (personal or family) with having had a lumbar puncture (also known as a spinal tap).
• Please note:
– This opportunity, as with all Island Health patient engagement opportunities, is not open to Island Health staff members or patient partners who are currently employed by Island Health. If you have questions regarding this, please email
– The placement process for this opportunity may include an informal interview between the volunteer and the health care partner.
– Applicants must have previously attended a PVN orientation session and completed the Patient Partner Commitments form. If you have not attended an orientation session but you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Charmaine Niebergall directly to see if accommodations may be possible.
– As required by the October 14, 2021 Public Health Order released by the Provincial Health Officer, proof of vaccination is required to access any in-person meetings at an Island Health site. Proof of vaccination can be provided by way of a Vaccination Passport or Vaccination card, along with government issued photo ID. For patient partnership activities that are virtual only (via Zoom, video conference, phone, etc.), proof of vaccination is not required.

• Number of vacancies: 2
• Date/Time:
– Late February/early March 2022.
– Specific day and time to be determined.
• Location: Virtually over Zoom, or by telephone.
• Commitment:
– One virtual meeting, one hour long.
– Format would be a one on on interview with a health care partner to share your experience and answer questions relating to this project.
– One additional follow up meeting, if appropriate, to share project outcomes.

No out-of-pocket expenses are anticipated for this engagement opportunity. However, if you meet the eligibility criteria but have concerns about your ability to participate, please contact Charmaine Niebergall to see if support options are available. We are always seeking to better understand and reduce barriers to participation.

Typically, patients attend the Emergency Department under times of stress, and patients awaiting results of a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) are often waiting to find out if they have meningitis or a brain bleed, both serious problems where time matters. The Emergency Department team at Victoria General Hospital is working to improve how laboratory tests are ordered, in order to improve the turn-around-time for patients awaiting results of a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). Our project team involves an Island Health physician, quality improvement team, laboratory staff, emergency department staff, a medical student, and patient partners. Patient partners will share their experience in a 1 hour, one on one interview to help us improve the current process. Questions will be provided in advance.

Engagement Leader Contact Information

Charmaine Niebergall
Engagement Leader, Patient & Public Engagement | Vancouver Island

From Our Community

Laura Parmar

Physician Quality Improvement Coach — Northern Health

Laura Palmer

It has been so rewarding to go from an idea to working with such a great group of dedicated people from so many different organizations towards a very fun and rewarding project. Several extremely engaged PVN members expressed interest in being part of piloting a patient virtual care peer support system. I am confident that this is the beginning of many more exciting collaborations!