Patient feedback leads to washroom enhancements for people who use ostomy bags
It’s often the little things that make a big difference. That was certainly true when a patient undergoing cancer treatment provided feedback about Nova Scotia Health washrooms to the Cancer Care Quality Council. Cancer Care leadership passed the feedback along to the Maintenance and Operations team. As someone who used an ostomy bag, the patient was frustrated by the absence of simple items that would help make the experience of changing her ostomy bag easier. Her comment? “I just need a shelf and some extra hooks.”
John Hann, director of Maintenance and Operations in Western Zone, called the patient to listen and learn, and he and the team took this feedback to heart. “You don’t want to feel dependent when you’re out in public. It can be embarrassing to have to go to somebody and ask them to help change your ostomy bag. Nobody should have to ask for that,” said Hann.
The team sought guidance from Infection Control to ensure their additions met infection prevention and control standards, and installed shelves and extra hooks in 240 washrooms across Nova Scotia Health. They also added signage to washroom doors to indicate the presence of these enhancements for those who use ostomy bags. They plan to expand these improvements to more washrooms in the coming months.
It meant a lot to the team to be able to act on this patient’s feedback.
“The patient wanted to be involved and wanted to be informed. It was unfortunate that she passed before we got to implement it across the province, but she was excited to see this happening. It meant a lot to her,” said Hann.
Looking to future washroom enhancements at Nova Scotia Health, Hann says the focus will be on ensuring “gender-neutral signage and accessibility the whole way around.”
“For my team and I, we repair and fix things. We know it all contributes. But very seldom do we get to interact with some of the patients. It really was a positive experience; I can’t say that enough. How something so simple can make a big impact to somebody in a public setting.”
Do you have feedback that could help improve care or service at Nova Scotia Health? Contact Patient Relations to share your feedback by phone (toll-free) or email.