Falling Through the Cracks: Greg’s Story

IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health was honoured to collaborate with Greg’s Wings to host a virtual screening and discussion of Falling Through the Cracks: Greg’s Story. The event on November 25, 2020, united 24 viewers from across Alberta and other provinces. It was a unique opportunity to view the film online as a group and also participate in an intimate conversation with Teri and Dave Price, a sister and the father of Greg Price, whose tragic health care experience inspired the film.

Falling Through the Cracks: Greg’s Story is a 30-minute narrative following the health care journey of Greg Price. Backed by Hollywood-quality writing, direction, and production, it tells Greg’s emotional story by tapping into who he was and why he mattered. It spotlights his experience as a patient holding faith in the health care system he and his family try to navigate.

Our conversation

Greg’s Wings, a not-for-profit organization established in Greg’s honour, intended the film to “create a platform for further dialogue.” For the IMAGINE Citizens’ Community Conversation group, it was a launch point for an engaging discussion guided by Teri and Dave. Participants were able to pose questions to Teri and Dave directly and also add comments or questions via the chat function in Zoom.

Participants inquired about the outcomes of a 2013 Health Quality Council of Alberta study on continuity of patient care based on the events leading to Greg’s death. The Minister of Health formally endorsed the study recommendations at the time. The Prices acknowledged that while much has been accomplished, many opportunities remain to achieve the recommendations. A Health Quality Council of Alberta follow-up study in 2016 examined the status of the 2013 guidance and identified opportunities for the most impact on continuity of care for the most patients.

When asked what they felt the impact of the current state of our health care might be to the system and the progress towards work outlined in 2013, Dave responded that we all contribute to good care. In times of change the “patient voice is more critical than ever in making sure our healthcare moves forward.”

Framework for Teamwork in Health care

The work of Greg’s Wings underscores that we all, whether patient, family or health care providers play a key role on a health care team. Teri briefly walked us through a Framework for Teamwork in Health care, developed by the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine, that builds on four main pillars:

  • Leadership/membership: who is on my team?
  • Communication: how do we share information?
  • Situation monitoring: how do we stay on the same page?
  • Collaborative decision making/mutual support: making a plan for supporting each other.

After discussing the pillars, an online poll of participants showed that from a patient perspective, almost half felt that communication was the pillar that needed the most work, with another half pointing to collaborative decision making/mutual support.

Further group discussion around the Framework for Teamwork introduced topics such as:

  • Getting stuck and unstuck in the system
  • Connecting silos
  • Patient rights and patient charters
  • Doctor accountability
  • Culture change
  • Acknowledging patient knowledge
  • Digital health opportunities
  • Multiple lenses of the team approach including administration
  • Honouring patient/family stories
  • Accessible language

Participants offered their own approaches to self-advocacy and teamwork. For example, “I use a few key steps for myself.  1. Start to track my health (keep an eye on it) 2. Educate myself (read up) on my condition 3. Ask question (write down before I go) and partner with my health care provider. It’s a relationship really…. it’s a work in progress I find – some of my specialists are easier than others.”

Film and Conversation Feedback

IMAGINE Citizens’ gratitude goes out to the Price family and Teri and Dave for their work in advancing health care change. And we thank them for taking the time to engage so openly with the IMAGINE Citizens’ audience. Participants added their thoughts.

“I want to express my deep gratitude to Teri & Dave for facilitating this conversation. I often share my own cancer story and it is exhausting work. This is making a difference; I know it is.”

“I wish this film was mandatory viewing for everyone who works in health care.”

“I would like to thank the Price family and the IMAGINE organization for providing this presentation. I will be more attentive to our health care issues and am now trying to determine how I can become more active in health care assessment and discussions. It seems there is much need for improvement.” 

January 2021