Our most important partners are those we serve. Every day, our employees, physicians, learners and volunteers work with patients, clients, families and communities to achieve the best possible state of health and quality of life.
Hearing from patients and clients
It’s important that we check in with our patients and clients to find out where we’re doing well and where we need to improve. This year, we distributed 26,300 patient experience surveys to Nova Scotians, focusing on the areas of primary health care, cancer care, mental health & addictions, long term care and acute care. Of the 10,801 respondents, 89.2 per cent rated their overall experience of care positively. This is an increase of 7.3 per cent from the combined results of our previous district health authorities. We will continue to focus on improving the patient experience to meet and exceed our target of 90 per cent.
Meeting the needs of diverse patients, clients and families
Our commitment to patients, clients and families who do not speak English fluently or understand it fully is to provide timely access to a certified interpreter. We improved access to interpretation services this year by expanding telephone interpretation services, previously available only in some areas, to the whole province. This helps to ensure timely access to certified interpreters in more than 240 languages by telephone, regardless of service location. In 2016-17, NSHA provided language interpretation services for 6,807 visits, supporting quality care and clear communication with patients, clients and families.
A new provincial French-language services consultant began in November 2016 to provide leadership for the development and implementation of French-language services throughout NSHA, identify strategic priorities to serve French-speaking individuals and their families and act as the primary contact for Acadian and francophone organizations. The consultant is supported by individuals with French-language service responsibilities throughout the province. To read our 2017-18 French-language services plan, visit http://www.nshealth.ca/french-language-services-services-en-francais.
Partnering with Foundations and Auxiliaries to provide better care
Our 41 Foundations and 33 auxiliaries within NSHA play an integral role in our work to provide care and advance health. In 2016-17, Nova Scotia Health Authority receieved $9,114,000 in grants from the foundations and auxiliaries to support local health programs, services and equipment. This represents only a portion of their overall contributions to the community, as they support a range of needs, including employee training, medical equipment, patient programs, research infrastructure development and more. Foundations and auxiliaries are vital partners, enabling advances in patient care and service that would otherwise not be possible.
Supporting healthy families
Healthy families are the foundation of a healthy community. Here are a few examples of initiatives focused on supporting healthy families:
Public Health conducts universal postpartum screening to identify families with risk factors known to negatively impact healthy child development, such as financial difficulty, low education and lack of social support. In March, Public Health introduced a new postpartum screening tool for use in hospital after birth. The screening tool is comprehensive and evidence-based. The goal is to screen all families following the birth of a child and determine the additional supports or programs from which they might benefit. These supports could include programs such as the Enhanced Home Visiting program of other parenting programs available in the community.
The Enhanced Home Visiting Program provides comprehensive home visiting support by Public Health prenatally and for the first three years of life. The program focuses on supporting parents by promoting healthy parent-child relationships, fostering healthy childhood development, and linking families with community resources. In 2016-17, 914 families participated in the program.
Mental health researchers at NSHA are leading a long-term study to learn what helps children stay healthy and well, even when they have a family history of serious mental illness that may increase their risk of developing a similar disorder. Families Overcoming Risks and Building Opportunities for Wellness - known as FORBOW - is enrolling youth and their parents, including families in which one or more parent has been diagnosed with major depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.