Eating disorders program help to guide PHC’s future
On the afternoon of December 7, staff from the provincial adult tertiary eating disorders program, which is housed at St. Paul’s, came and went during a 2-hour pop-up engagement session (i.e., when we bring candy and questions to the unit).
From suggestions on how staff can make care more real for their patients, to the research they’re proud of, to where they see opportunities to grow, clinical and medical staff came to the table with many great ideas.
Here is just a snippet*:
We need to bring the health care we’re teaching here out into the community.
I think what could make us world class in the next seven years is developing our understanding of men and body image, and creating specific programming around it — we are seeing more and more men come through but I’ve only seen one pamphlet dedicated specifically to men and eating disorders.
There is a big research component to our program — when someone is first referred we ask them to complete a survey and again when they’re taken in as an inpatient, and again when they’re discharged so that we can improve based on this patient feedback. An example of this improvement is patient participation rounds: The psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker — the whole team is present and participates. We’re now also writing down the feedback shared during rounds for our patients because of survey insights. We were realizing that it was just the negative that our patients were holding onto and we wanted to make sure they that they saw all of the good being said about them, too.
We’re the only provincial tertiary-level resource for eating disorders, and through that we run a comprehensive provincial program for BC and the Yukon. Our program is very research-informed and evidence-based, and our staff are seconded to write the BC clinical guidelines for eating disorders, which we get international calls about. We’re both medical and psychiatric, which makes us fairly unique, with 3 internists who rotate through here, and are available 24/7. Everyone probably knows we’re doing cardiac transplants, but do they know we have the only adult provincial inpatient program? More institutional visibility would be really valuable.
This hospital is colourful; it serves all walks of life — we accept everyone. That’s what I like about it.
It would be great if we were able to do our own cooking for our patients so that they could have more input. The hospital only has so many food options.
Providing patients with immersion experiences that will help them navigate real-life situations like going out for dinner or experiencing social events — those situations that are really anxiety-ridden for our patients — would set us apart. It would be more money but at the end of the day if you work towards recovery and keep a patient out of inpatient and in recovery, the additional cost for these types of experiences would be worth it.
It sometimes feels like a lot of people in the organization don’t even know we’re here. We are kind of invisible, like we get forgotten about when it comes to distributing certain supplies like whiteboards at bedside.
I put out one email and I get 20 replies. It sounds cheesy but it’s very friendly here — like a family.
What I’ve learned here is the necessity of matching right patient, right care, right time.
Feel of a community hospital with all of the services. I know the docs who I need to contact with, and it’s very easy to facilitate these conversations.
Our unit has a great housekeeper but the rest of the hospital isn’t that. The patients that have been cared for here, or the staff can look past it — but your first impression of this hospital is far from great; abysmal, even.
I think that regardless of your position you are encouraged to contribute and be part of the organization and the work here. The hospital doesn’t feel elitist.
* Please note: this is a high-level summary; all sentiments discussed were fully captured by the facilitators!
This recent session with Eating Disorders Program staff is part of a series of facilitated engagement sessions across PHC where employees, patients, residents, family members, clinicians, researchers and volunteers are invited to weigh in on the creation of a new 7-year strategic plan (2019 – 2026) for the organization.