Representatives from IMAGINE recently had the pleasure of meeting with Albertans in Stettler and Okotoks on the first two stops in a series of community discussions across the province.
A big THANK YOU goes out to the participants who shared their experiences, ideas and thoughts so openly. The insights from these groups revealed a number of key themes that begin to create a picture of what is most important to Albertans when it comes to shaping our health care system.
One common theme found in both meetings was the importance of patient and family voices. As one participant stated,
“Respect the patient voice; a patient must be heard, acknowledged and validated.”
“Families have valuable information and insight to contribute. Regular communication with family is critical and could improve care.”
Participants said the need for continuity of care across all parts of the system was essential, enabling better communication between all providers and patients. Citizens also want easy access to their health information to stay informed and information about the system itself to better navigate it.
Both groups had concerns about a system under pressure. Backlogs to see a family physician and specialists, long wait times, overstretched staff, overcrowded hospital rooms, and inadequate seniors’ care are a few that were mentioned. At the same time, they talked about many positive and heartening experiences and suggested that the good stories need to be recognized and used as examples for others.
The insight and passion both Stettler and Okotoks residents expressed about their community’s health care reveals that it is a core part of the community’s culture. There were unique health care needs and desires discussed in each community, but they both shared, as one participant stressed, “the pride and benefits that exist in local knowledge and solutions.”
We look forward to more citizen engagement in Wainwright and Peace River in March and the planning for meetings in Pincher Creek and Brocket is underway. If you are interested in an upcoming meeting or would like to host one in your community, please contact us .