Patients, clients, residents and family members from across the province are playing a pivotal role in co-designing the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) to ensure the health care system is centred on patient needs. Engaging patients and families as active partners in the key areas of governance, strategy and policy as well as wherever care is delivered is our goal. In the coming weeks, as part of SHA’s one-year milestone, we are featuring the stories of patient and family advisors who are actively involved in the improvement of the health care system. They discuss why they got involved, how they are engaged, and their hopes for the SHA’s future.
Mary Ann Ardell says it just feels good to be able to help.
Mary Ann Ardell says one of her proudest moments as a family advisor was when visiting restrictions were removed from Royal University Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in 2010.
“Before this, families were not free to come and go and we felt that was wrong.”
Ardell and her husband, Ron, were part of ICU’s patient and family advisory council. The council’s recommendations played a role in opening visiting hours and ensuring families receive more information about their loved one’s care.
Ardell, who lives in Martensville, had experienced the inconvenience of visiting hour restrictions first hand when Ron was hospitalized in the ICU.
“At that time, I had to get up and go to the hospital by 6 a.m. if I wanted to see him before noon because between 7:30 and noon, I wasn’t allowed to be there. So, I’d visit him for a little while, then go to work and come back afterwards. If I could have gone to the hospital at 10 o’clock, I could have visited him for four hours straight.”
They joined the advisory council shortly after Ron was discharged from the ICU. The couple also participated in the renal patient and family council, which “has changed a lot of little things.”
Ardell said she decided to become a family advisor because “it just feels good to be able to help.”
One of the big changes she looks forward to with the amalgamation of 12 regions to one is more consistent care across the province.
“I think rural areas will especially benefit from this.”