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Because your voice matters.

Walking Interview Participant, BC Cancer, Vancouver Centre

Posted • Last updated


Open to Fraser – Vancouver Coastal, Patient partners in the Lower Mainland

Last updated

Have you ever gotten lost when going to a hospital or health centre, and it added to your stress? Help make it easier for patients and visitors to find their way in the BC Cancer Vancouver Centre.

Open to: Patient partners in the Lower Mainland

Lead Organization or Department

BC Cancer, Patient Education - Patient Experience Program


We want to make it easier for our patients and their family members/friends/caregivers to find their way within the BC Cancer Vancouver Centre. We want to make sure our signs are clear, our staff members are willing and available to help give directions and patients feel comfortable asking for help if needed. The walking interview is an exercise where someone who has never been to the BC Cancer Vancouver Centre is asked to find various locations within the centre. The goal is to see how easy it is for patients to navigate our centre and to assess what changes need to be made to signage, staff availability and access.

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.


  • We need patient partners who are completely unfamiliar with the BC Cancer Vancouver Centre (600 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver)
  • We are seeking two partners for two separate walking interviews:
    • We would like one partner who is fluent in speaking and reading English
    • We would like another partner who does not speak or read English very well or at all. It would be very helpful if this partner's primary language is Mandarin, Cantonese or Punjabi given the prevalence of these languages in the Vancouver area. We want to assess how easy it is for a person who does not speak English to find their way around the Centre. We will be providing an interpreter in the appropriate language.
  • The partner must be able to make their own way to the Vancouver Centre. They must be able to go on a walking tour for about one hour. If a partner is in a wheelchair or uses a mobility aid, this does not exclude them, as long as they are able to independently maneuver themselves around the centre. The Provincial Lead, Patient Education will be observing, recording and asking questions and will not be able to help with mobility. If the patient partner needs assistance and brings someone with them to assist them, the person assisting will be asked not to talk or assist with the interview as this will skew the results.
  • The partners must be comfortable speaking out loud to comment on their navigation of the Centre


  • Vacancies: 2
  • Patient partners will be needed once only, for about one hour. They will be asked to meet the Provincial Lead, Patient Education and go on a walking tour through the centre. The partner will be asked to find certain areas in the building. They will be asked to comment out loud on what they are doing, why they are going the direction they are going, if they are having difficulty finding something and any other comments about the building related to how easy or hard it is to find something. After the interview is over, the patient partner's role is complete
  • We would like to conduct this walking interview by the end of February or very early March. The interview will take place at the partner's convenience, Monday through Thursday anytime between 8 am and 4 pm.


Expenses related to travel (i.e. transit, parking but not mileage) to attend the interview will be reimbursed in cash by BC Cancer. For those with limited mobility who cannot travel by bus or private vehicle, taxi vouchers will be offered to patient partners who live within 20 km of the BC Cancer Vancouver Centre.


We recognize that patient partners can offer a unique perspective on finding your way in a health care building - a perspective staff members don't have because they are familiar with the building. In February 2016, a thorough review of patient education best practices was conducted. One of the keys to ensuring patients are able to fully participate (as much as they want to) in their care, are educated about their health and care, and have access to knowledge, is the health literacy of an organization. Before BC Cancer can make any changes to how health literate it is, we need to know our starting point (baseline). We define health literacy as "the ability to access, understand, evaluate and communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a variety of settings across the life-course." We are using a Health Literacy Environment Assessment tool which provides concrete aspects of an organization that can be evaluated and changed as needed. This walking interview to assess wayfinding is one of six parts to this evaluation: Navigation (walking interview and telephone), Oral Exchange Assessment, Technology, Policies & Procedures, and Print Communication.

Engagement Leader Contact Information

Karen Estrin
Engagement Leader, Patient and Public Engagement | Lower Mainland & Sunshine Coast


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!