The Institute for Reconstructive
Sciences in Medicine (iRSM) is
renowned globally for its pioneering
work to rebuild faces and restore
function after head and neck cancer
or facial trauma.
The institute serves patients whose needs
are great, care pathways long and
healing complex. “Treatment for the
trauma is just the first step—we are
involved in every step of their journey
back to health,” says Jacqueline
Hills, Registered Nurse, Clinical Care
When demand for iRSM’s innovative
treatment led to long waitlists, a new
approach to listing and management
was required. By looking through the
eyes of the patient, the centre looked to change how the vulnerable are served.
A small team of caregivers met with each waitlisted patient in person or by
telephone. “It took great courage to open the waitlist issue but it was the right
thing to do. As we met with and listened to the patients and their families, we
were humbled and then reassured,” says Jacqueline. “Themes emerged from the
process: patients were understanding of a wait but paramount was their desire for
improved communication during the wait and fairness in treatment selection."
The team then went further and formed a patient focus group. “That experience
was heart-wrenching at times as patients shared the story of their treatment
journey,” says Jacqueline. “The information we received was of immeasurable
value and empowered us to make changes. Through this collaboration, a new care
model is being implemented."
The centre has already achieved a significant reduction in wait times, from over
five years to under two years. iRSM has also made other improvements, including holding open houses for patient
orientation, organizing a patient-led support group and providing additional care at
“By giving a voice to the voiceless, we emphasized commitment to our mission. We give compassionate care and support to patients throughout their journey so they can embrace life again with rejuvenated bodies and spirits,” says Jacqueline.
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