News

Healthy Aging in Alberta: measuring what matters

If you are 65 and older or care about someone who is, ICN has an exciting opportunity for you to add your voice to Alberta Health Service’s (AHS) strategic planning. We want to listen and learn from your experiences when it comes to older adults’ health, well-being and independence. Together, we’ll talk about what’s critical when it comes to living and aging well. 

ICN is partnering with AHS to connect with Albertans to identify the most important measures of quality in AHS’s work with older adults and their supporting caregivers. The project will add a citizen or patient perspective to help select the measures that the Provincial Seniors Health and Continuing Care team in AHS uses to evaluate its work around healthy aging.

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Giving Day 2022

Imagine Citizens Network, through our relationship with O’Brien Institute of Public Health at the University of Calgary, is inviting you to participate in Giving Day – our most significant donor campaign of the year. Your gift will go twice as far with the matching funds offered by the University.

Last year marked a turning point in our evolution. Since our inception seven years ago, we have been a volunteer powered organization. Last year we received a donation of $150,000 ($50,000 over three years) allowing us to begin to hire core staff.

In the coming year, we will continue to build our foundation (technology infrastructure, staffing and funding) as well as focus on two key initiatives:

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Safe Spaces for Patient Storytelling

This is the second in a series of articles about Patient Storytelling. 

Patients share their health care stories in public for many reasons: fundraising purposes, media exposure, advocacy efforts, and to educate or to support quality improvement projects. We even tell a version of our stories when we simply submit a biography or introduce ourselves at a meeting.  

 I’ve had many experiences writing and speaking my own story as the mom of a young man with Down syndrome and as a recent breast cancer patient. I’ve spoken with the media for advocacy campaigns, explained parts of my story at committee meetings, lectured at grand rounds and presented at health conferences. Most of these experiences have been positive, but some have gone side-ways.  

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The Power of Patient Stories

This is the first in a series of articles about the power of patient stories.

“I tried all sorts of storytelling to write my way through my cancer. I wrote in my journal. I handwrote in the variety of little notebooks that I carried around with me. I typed out thoughts on my phone. I texted myself…” -Bird’s Eye View book

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Digital Story Initiative: Child & Youth Mental Health

Stories matter in healthcare and they promote citizen engagement in health and care issues. Early this year, we embarked on a project to produce five digital stories with our Child & Youth Mental Health group.

Digital storytelling through its use of photos, participant voices and music can meaningfully capture and share poignant personal stories. With a skilled facilitator, it’s a highly effective approach to share lived experience while also empowering storytellers and promoting and protecting their wellbeing. With the storyteller’s permission, these stories are then used to initiate conversations on issues that are of concern to the storyteller.

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Who is the Captain of the Care Team?

Amateur and professional athletes agree that there is little that compares to the joy of participating on a highly functioning team. Interestingly, the same applies in healthcare. 

It was a special experience for me as a practicing Nephrologist (now retired) to participate as a team member in a clinic devoted to the treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease, some of whom were headed to chronic dialysis. The culture in this clinic was all about the team: nurse practitioners, dieticians, social workers, pharmacists, doctors and patients working together. Every healthcare provider was there to meet the needs of the patient, as defined by the patient, during every visit. As the doctor, I was just one team member, no more important than any other. And the captain of the team? That was the patient.  

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What You Permit You Promote

This aphorism is useful in many settings, including when talking about person-centred care (PCC) and about patient engagement, without which PCC will never achieve its promise.  It’s relevant because when communities and citizens continue to accept non-person-centred healthcare, they are effectively promoting non-engagement.

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Person-Centred Care in Precision Health

Imagine Citizens Network (ICN) has started collaborating with the Cumming School of Medicine as they launch a new program called Precision Health[1]. The first course of the four streams launched this August.  The first course was designed as a Foundations block-week where all participants came together.  Central to the planning for that block week was the emphasis on patient-centred care, as a means of embedding a shift in thinking from the ‘expert’ model of health care to involvement of the patient as a partner in their care.

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The Crazy Slow Adoption of Person-Centred Care

There is an adoption problem with the concept of person-centred care (PCC). The precepts of this concept were detailed almost 30 years ago, and it has been vigorously promoted ever since. And while a commitment to PCC can be found on every Canadian health system website, it’s struggling to gain traction in what continues to be a discouragingly provider-driven healthcare system. What’s afoot? Why the crazy slow adoption of PCC?

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We are now Imagine Citizens Network!

IMAGINE Citizens has refreshed its brand to become Imagine Citizens Network (ICN)!  Our new name and bold new logo will better support us in building awareness of who we are and what we’re about as we continue to grow our presence in Alberta. We are indeed a network of health citizens, community partners, health-oriented organizations and innovators aimed at transforming health and care in Alberta.

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True Co-Design for Patient Guide

“I just assumed my family doctor was aware.”

This is a common assumption amongst Albertans who have needed care outside of that received from their primary care physician. Unfortunately, this is often not the case due to a lack of continuity of information flow between hospitals and primary care providers.

The good news is that a dynamic team of patients, the Patient Transitions Resources team, are working hard alongside the Primary Health Care Integration Network to effect meaningful change on the system by improving the experience and outcome for all Albertans.

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The Power of Storytelling

Amateur and professional athletes agree that there is little that compares to the joy of participating on a highly functioning team. Interestingly, the same applies in healthcare. 

It was a special experience for me as a practicing Nephrologist (now retired) to participate as a team member in a clinic devoted to the treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease, some of whom were headed to chronic dialysis. The culture in this clinic was all about the team: nurse practitioners, dieticians, social workers, pharmacists, doctors and patients working together. Every healthcare provider was there to meet the needs of the patient, as defined by the patient, during every visit. As the doctor, I was just one team member, no more important than any other. And the captain of the team? That was the patient.  

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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.

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IMAGINE COVID Survey Findings

In late August to mid-September 2020, IMAGINE Citizens conducted a brief survey of people in or connected to our community about citizen involvement in future pandemic planning and decision-making.

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The input of everyday Albertans made a difference

A year ago, IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health completed a project in which we had an in-depth conversation with 28 Albertans over the course of several months on two topics that were top of mind to Alberta Health (government ministry responsible for health).

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MyHealth Record

The Government of Alberta has recently launched a new portal that makes it possible for Albertans to access some of our health information online. This is a first important step toward making our complete health record a tool for us to use to ensure our care is seamless and effective.

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Citizens for Digital Health

IMAGINE is excited to launch a new project called Citizens for Digital Health. Through this initiative, we will connect citizens with digital health innovators. Canada

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Healthcare 101

Last year, IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health and our partners saw a need to build an introduction course for Albertans to help us all to

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IMAGINE turns 1!

One year ago today, a group of like-minded patient, family and citizen champions partnered with the O’Brien Institute for Public Health to host a forum

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Patients, the Right Medicine for Health Care

Patients have known for a long time the healthcare system could be doing more to address their fears, concerns and needs. Now, a federal investigation into the state of the Canadian healthcare system has given weighty validity to those concerns.

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