Recently I had the pleasure of sitting for an interview with two lovely young women working for a ‘QIO’ (and for the uninitiated like me – that’s a ‘quality improvement organization‘) building a library of ‘patient centered’ stories.
My heart is full with appreciation and gratitude for this opportunity to stand for something important! Thank you Melanie, Program Specialist, Learning & Action Network National Coordinating Center Telligen (formerly CFMC) and her colleague Kimothy – two beautiful souls.
I am arguably ‘late’ to this conversation of patient centered care but willingly outspoken none-the-less. Since I’ve been working on finding my voice for some time now (I am in my 80s – ergo the ‘vintage’ moniker) I have made a commitment to show up and participate in conversations that have here-to-for been physically and professionally out of reach.
Starting with an invitation to participate on UCSD Health System’s ‘patient and family centered care council’, followed thereafter by invitation to the IPFCC (the Institute for Patient and Family Centered Care) and most recently the ‘Symposium for Leaders in Healthcare Quality‘ (AHA-SLHQ) conferences, I am finding more and more personal satisfaction to be in the conversation in a meaningful and experiential way. Perhaps the healthcare industry and it’s myriad of health profession’s are finally open to hearing from and engaging with patients beyond the traditional paternalistic ‘I talk, you listen’ top down means of imparting important health information. Maybe, just maybe we’re being invited in as partners in our own healthcare?
Finally, this post would not be whole without a heartfelt shoutout to the volunteers and staff at SDCRI (the San Diego Cancer Research Institute). In particular huge props to the physician leadership of Paul Brenner, MD, PhD and his fellow SDCRI board members and tireless colleagues Daniel Vicario, MD and Mark J. Adler, MD. What a amazing group of committed healers.
But the most meaningful support and inspiration I have received to find and sustain (at least so far) ‘my voice’ is from the courageous stories of hope and help offered by the patients who participate in our circle. Their relentless courage often in the face of very troubling odds and circumstances make me a better and stronger human being. I am deeply blessed by their presence, authenticity and amazing courage and honored to be a part of their/our/my healing as well.