A Q&A with Sharon Rogers, Patient Relations Director

UHN has just released its Patient Declaration of Values, in keeping with the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care's "Excellent Care for All Act." The Declaration represents a lot of hard work on the part of Sharon Rogers and the Patient Relations team, who really helped ensure that our patients' voices came through in the final document. The Declaration is available on our website and will shortly be posted across all the sites.

PatientValues.jpgHow is this different from previous value statements UHN has created? 

Well, we've been asked to do it. But more than that, it's about the evolution of UHN and our commitment to patients. Twenty years ago we had a statement about rights and responsibilities, which then evolved into a working together document. And now we have a statement of how will we work together on a day-to-day basis to provide health care services that are responsive to what patients want and at the same time reflective of what we want to do and how we want to fulfill our mandate.

In essence, the Patient Declaration of Values is a much more collaborative statement. It's a statement of partnership. It's a more realistic and mature statement.

Can you talk about the process you went through to develop the Patient Declaration of Values?

We went through several rounds of discussion. We sent it out to our patient groups, and said, "Tell us what you want and what you need." We got those responses back, and created a draft document.

Then we sent the draft out and said "Here's what you told us. Is that right? Did we hear you right? This is what you told us, this is how it looks—what do you think?"

What was the response rate like?

Over 4,000 patients responded. We sent it to the Virtual Patient Focus Group. We put it on our website and sent it to various email patient groups, by site, so it went to a lot of people. We also sent it to all UHN staff and medical staff. Frontline staff responded—nurses, physicians, everyone.

So both sides of the partnership contributed.

What were the responses you received like? 

Patients were eager to participate. They were generous with their responses, and gave really well thought-out, expansive comments.

We've actually used their exact words in the final document. The language that came up over and over was unbelievably consistent, and the way it was ordered—starting with caring and respect—was absolutely the way patients ordered it.

The first four things on the declaration are things patients really care about on a day-to-day basis: Caring, Respect, Excellence and Teamwork. 

Did you learn anything new, or different, about our patients and their expectations of UHN? 

I was actually surprised at the consistency. There was remarkable consistency. The one thing I would say is that these results are not a surprise—people really want to be treated as individuals. They need a connection and that connection is demonstrated by caring and respect. It's "see me, hear me."

What patients want, in the context of my work with patients for the last 20 years, is entirely consistent with what I've been hearing.​

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