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Because your voice matters.

Patient Partner FAQs

Posted • Last updated

Welcome to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Patient Partners! As we continue to support what you need to be confident as a PVN member, we will continue to add to these. If you do not find the answer to your question here, we encourage you to contact by telephone at 1.877.282.1919 or email pvn@bcpsqc.ca.

 

Why is PVN important to improving health care in BC?

As experts in their own lives, patients can provide health system administrators and care providers with important information on how to best improve the health care system. Research shows that when patients and the public work with health care partners it ensures that the health care system reflects the needs and priorities of all those involved. PVN is a platform for the patients’ voice to be heard and reflected within those health care improvements.

Who makes up PVN?

PVN is made up of two groups: patient and health care partners. Patient partners participate in engagement opportunities that are created by health care partners and supported by the Council. Health care partners are those who are working in delivering health care and are interesting in improving it.

What is an engagement opportunity?

Engagement opportunities put forward through PVN are focused on improving health care, whether it’s at the community, regional or provincial level. Some examples of opportunities include:
• Joining advisory committees and working groups
• Helping develop programs and resources
• Telling your story at workshops, conferences, and other events
• Sharing the patient experience with care providers
• Participating in surveys, focus groups and other ways of providing feedback

How can I get involved as a patient partner?

To join PVN as a patient partner, complete the online sign-up form and you’ll soon be contacted by an engagement leader who works in your region to walk you through the next steps which include attending a 1-hour orientation.

Where are these engagement opportunities located?

Engagement opportunities are located across the province. Invitations will indicate which regions are invited to participate. Some are in-person opportunities in your own community, and others allow patient partners to participate online, by teleconference or by traveling to other communities.

I’m interested in addressing a particular issue or cause. Can PVN guarantee that I’ll get to volunteer for opportunities that focus on that issue or cause?

We receive opportunities that span a wide range of topics. Currently, the engagement opportunities and topics originate with health care partners. If you feel very strongly about addressing a specific gap or concern that you have witnessed or experienced in the health care system, you may consider following up with the department at the relevant hospital or health authority Patient Care Quality Office.

Is PVN volunteer work confidential?

All information shared with patient partners throughout engagements will be kept confidential as per the Volunteer Agreement. Health care partners are also reminded that information shared by patient partners during the opportunity is confidential unless approved by the patient partner to be shared.

What is the commitment if I sign-up as a patient partner?

You control how much or how little you participate. You RSVP and may participate in engagement opportunities of interest and where you meet the criteria. Engagement opportunities vary in terms of time commitment and type of activities; details will be included within each individual invitation. Once a commitment is made, we ask that patient partners are diligent in fulfilling their commitment to the engagement.

Are patient partners required to complete a criminal records check prior to volunteering?

In most cases, Patient Partners are not required to complete a criminal record check because PVN Patient Partners do not work directly with patients, youth, children, and other vulnerable populations. Occasionally, however, a specific engagement opportunity may require patient partners to complete a criminal record check if they are selected; they will be notified when this is a requirement.

How does PVN store the information that I submit when signing up?

All information submitted by patient partners during the initial sign-up, through the RSVP process and via correspondence with engagement leaders is stored on the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council’s secure and closed server, within Canada.

Can I sign up if I do not have email?

Yes. Please call your local Engagement Leader or 604.668.8240 / 1.877.282.1919 to assist with signing up and options for sharing upcoming opportunities.

Why should I sign the Volunteer Agreement?

The purpose of the Volunteer Agreement is to support patient partners by highlighting the values of the Patient Voices Network. It helps to ensure that patient partners understand the commitment and expectations of joining PVN and how the team at the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council (the Council) will work with and support them should an issue with a health care partner arise. The agreement includes:
• Our commitment to volunteers;
• Volunteer responsibilities/code of conduct;
• Confidentiality; and
• Conduct management process

In addition, PVN members participating in opportunities through PVN can be covered by the Council’s liability insurance by signing the Agreement. The Volunteer Agreement is also used to explain and get consent for the way that the Council collects and shares personal information as part of engagement opportunities with health care partners and other patient partners.

Signing the Volunteer Agreement is required for a patient partner to become a member of PVN.

What is the Patient Voices Network (PVN)?

The Patient Voices Network (PVN) is a community of patients, families and caregivers working together with health care partners to improve BC’s health care system. Patient Partners connect with health care organizations and initiatives looking for the patients’ perspective, by sharing their own lived experiences within the health care system.

How do I learn about engagement opportunities?

Every Tuesday you will receive our newsletter by email with all open engagement opportunities and those posted within the last 7 days marked as “new”. You can also see all open opportunities on our Engagement Opportunities page on our website. If you spot an opportunity that matches your interests and availability, fill out its RSVP form.

If I am under age 18, can I become a patient partner?

If you are under age 18, we welcome you to join the network. You will be required to have our consent form signed by yourself and a parent prior to participation.

Who supports PVN?

PVN is supported and funded by the BC Ministry of Health, which created the Network 2009. The Network has been administered by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council (the Council) since December 2015.

The Patient Voices Network mandate is developed in consultation with its Oversight & Advisory Committee, which also serves to provide guidance and support to the Network. Members of the committee include representatives from health care organizations, the Ministry of Health and the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council, as well as an equal number of patient representatives from across BC.

From Our Community

Agnes Black

Director, Health Services & Clinical Research and Knowledge Translation – Providence Health Care

Agnes Black

It’s really hard to make changes in health care. When a PVN patient partner says, ‘This is important to us’ it keeps us grounded on why a change is needed and keeps us motivated to keep going on projects.