3. Engagement with Nova Scotians

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Working with Nova Scotians

Engaging patient and family volunteers to improve quality and safety

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In January 2016, Brigid Milway came to Dartmouth General Hospital’s emergency department experiencing a miscarriage. In the weeks that followed, she spent time in and out of Dartmouth General due to complications. As part of her healing process, she was looking for ways to give back and improve the system for others. She found that opportunity as a patient advisor.

Milway joined both the Dartmouth General Hospital Patient & Family Advisory Team and the hospital’s Emergency Department Quality & Patient Safety Team a year ago. While the groups have different purposes, they both look to patients and family members for input and advice that will help to improve the patient and family experience.

One of Milway’s most meaningful experiences was being invited to speak to a group of team members about how they handle miscarriages in the emergency department.

“I was able to give my experience at every stage of the process,” said Milway. “They were able to ask me questions and I was able to ask them questions. I think it greatly impacted their perspective. They came up with a whole new process for patients who come in experiencing miscarriage. When I left, I knew for a fact that my experience would help change the experience of anyone coming after me for the better, and that was very healing for me.”

Milway says that in both groups, the voices of patients and family members provide a new perspective that helps to open up discussion among providers that might not have happened otherwise. “Every meeting, we feel like we make a difference.”

Pregnant again and expecting in August, Milway says she may need to step back from her patient advisor position when the baby is born. However, she’s quick to encourage others to consider the opportunity. “It’s been an incredible experience for me. I’d recommend it to anyone.”