Written by Diane Wild, Senior Consultant, Communications and Public Affairs

From now until June 6, staff and volunteers at Surrey Memorial Hospital will be wish-granting genies for some lucky patients.

“What Matters To You?” Day is when health care providers across the province are encouraged to ask that question with the simple goal of encouraging meaningful conversations between patients, caregivers and families and their health care providers. At Surrey, engagement radicals and leadership are taking the idea one step further. When a patient expresses a non-monetary wish about something that matters to them, the team will try to make it happen.

Rehab assistant and engagement radical ShelleyLynn Gardner was inspired to use What Matters to You? Day to find ways to strengthen the connection between health care providers and patients at her site. “We’re so busy and have so many patients that we can lose sight of the people behind the lab values and charts, but the human connection is so important.”

She researched what some other countries have done for What Matters to You? Day and in her Googling discovered some heartwarming stories, including one of a dying Vietnam veteran whose horses visited for a last goodbye outside the hospital.

“Wishes can be simple and don’t have to cost anything,” ShelleyLynn said. “It’s often the small things that mean a lot to people. Granting their wish shows that we’re taking time to listen.”

Some examples she gives of possible wishes include:

  • “I really miss the fresh air on my face.” Can we make that happen?
  • “I miss my cat.” Can we arrange a visit?
  • “I haven’t had a decent cup of coffee since I was admitted.” Can we find that elusive perfect cup?
  • “I’m going to be in hospital during my best friend’s wedding.” Can we find a way to livestream the wedding service?

Surrey Memorial Hospital care providers are encouraged to submit patient wishes to smherads@fraserhealth.ca by June 5, and wishes will be granted from now until June 6.

What will you do for What Matters To You Day? Let us know in the comments below.

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