Written by Stephanie Bale, Senior Consultant, Communications and Public Affairs

Vice President of Patient Experience Linda Dempster tours the region and speaks about her Change Day pledge.

“My hope is to get acquainted with all aspects of our business,” said Linda Dempster, vice president, Patient Experience. “I want to acknowledge our peoples’ contributions to create positive patient and family care experiences. Visiting our care sites reminds me why I’m here -- to support our people to be successful in the work they do each day. A positive staff experience makes a positive patient experience.”

Linda often visits care facilities. She also attends staff huddles on Releasing Time to Care units where staff are leading change to improve care for their patients. Here we follow our vice president visiting two care facilities.

Linda toured the Abbotsford Primary Care Access Clinic

Kristine Fujita (right), medical office assistant, met with Linda Dempster (left), vice president Patient Experience, at the reception desk of the Primary Care Access Clinic. Kristine explained the clinic’s intake process.

Abbotsford Primary Care Access Clinic staff talked with Linda about their services: (left to right) Dr. Sarah Pawlovich; Linda Dempster, vice president Patient Experience; Mary Rhode, director Primary Health Care Services; and nurse practitioners: Monica Gregory and Lianne Bjornerud.

The team described how the Abbotsford Primary Care Access Clinic provides after-hospital care for patients discharged by hospitalists. Patients share one factor -- they don’t have a family doctor and are high-risk for hospital re-admissions. The Abbotsford Primary Care Access Clinic bundles services around patients to assess and stabilize them, many of whom have chronic illness, disability or frailty. The focus of the clinic is on promoting health and wellness and illness prevention and management.

Linda heard how the team’s nurse practitioners and physicians work closely with hospitalists, nursing, social work, public health and mental health and substance use staff. They partner with several outreach agencies and Abbotsford Community Services who refer refugees without a regular family practitioner.

“Patients can have poor experiences navigating health care,” says Dr. Sarah Pawlovich. “We find care solutions so patients feel their needs are met. Once stabilized, we try to attach them to a family practice.”

The staff shared patient success stories like Olena’s. This family feared their mother’s heart problems and pneumonia would relapse. The team stabilized 91-year old Olena who was able to return home to be with her family. “Everyone at the clinic is caring and patient,” said Sylvia, Olena’s daughter. “Dr. Pawlovich even called after hours to share mom’s blood work results.”

“We opened the clinic a year ago and are seeing better patient experiences and health outcomes,” said Mary Rhode, director Primary Care Health Services. “We hope to move the clinic into the community as part of the primary care network.”

“I’m proud of the care at Abbotsford’s Primary Care Access Clinic and everyone’s passion and commitment to making positive experiences for patients and families,” said Linda. 

Linda visited William Rudd House, a residential care home for adults in New Westminster.

Tanis Juriga, a resident of William Rudd House, enjoys her new garden beds that are raised to table height and now accessible to her.

Linda met staff and residents of William Rudd House. Tanis, a resident for 10 years, spoke with Linda about the herb garden she harvests for salads; she’s a farmer’s market volunteer and proud to have a green thumb.

Last summer the residents of William Rudd House beautified their home with hanging flower baskets. They told Linda how their garden dreams have grown with the purchase of raised planters that are wheelchair accessible. The residents and staff purchased the garden containers with funds from an innovation grant. In May, they hosted a spring garden party and invited everyone to get involved in their project.

“Gardens make a house feel more like home with colourful sights and scents,” said Revi Ross, recreation therapist, clinical supervisor of therapeutic recreation. “Some days you need a boost -- a trip outdoors to see new garden growth does just that.”

Linda toured the park-like grounds of William Rudd House with Corrina Daggitt, licensed practical nurse supervisor and team leader.

“I am heartened by the residents’ passion at William Rudd House,” said Linda. “I wanted to see their home and hear about their gardens.” Linda saw their philosophy in practice, ‘home is where you feel cared for, friends are found, and hearts are nurtured.’

William Rudd House has a team of nursing assistants and recreational therapists. Residents also access the adjacent Queen’s Park Care Centre for counselling, social work and spiritual care services.

“I was touched by the unique design of William Rudd House where staff are guests in the resident’s homes,” said Linda. “Residents have a voice in running the operations and that has a positive effect on everyone.” 


Linda’s quest continues to bring her to communities across the region. “People are making lasting impressions,” said Linda. “I see how we are living a caring and respectful culture. Patients and families have a voice in their care. And we are partnering across all professions, programs and communities to provide patient-centred care that matters. I’m glad for the chance to meet these teams and better understand their work.”

Tremendous thanks to all Fraser Health care providers, patients, clients and residents who made Change Day pledges to improve care. For background information on Change Day BC or to see more pledges visit the B.C. Patient Safety Quality Council’s website. 

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