Navigating the many different departments, units and clinics at The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) is an ongoing challenge for patients and visitors.  Volunteer Services at TSH has recognized this barrier and developed a program to assist patients and visitors from pre-arrival to departure. The goal of the CAVA (Call Ahead for Volunteer Assistance) program is to improve the patient experience by breaking down barriers associated with system navigation.
Call Ahead for Volunteer Assistance (CAVA) provides a point of contact for patients and visitors who use TSH services. For Pre-arrival assistance, patients call a dedicated phone extension or email 24 hours a day seven days a week and leave/send a message.  Messages are checked daily and confirmation calls are returned to arrange for a volunteer to meet the patient prior to their appointment at their entrance of choice. Upon arrival, the volunteer greets and escorts the patient to Patient Registration, waits, and then brings them to their appointment. Following the appointment, a volunteer reconnects with the patient and escorts them to another area of the hospital or the exit of their choice.

While traditionally maps and signage are available, both in-hospital and online, patients are often    visiting multiple areas during their visit requiring additional support to navigate the hospital. This results in heightened anxiety levels.  For the patient and their family it is reassuring to know that they will be greeted by someone knowledgeable in navigating the hospital resulting in a positive experience for both patients and family members.

The CAVA program’s goal is to provide that unique care experience for each patient.  The program is accessible 24 hours a day with volunteers available daily.  When families are not able to accompany their family member, there is comfort in knowing they will be well received at the hospital.

The number of requests for the CAVA program has increased steadily since the inception of the program. In the past quarter, there has been a 50% increase in requests. Documentation of requests and patient satisfaction are reflected in monthly and quarterly comparison graphs. Patient participation volume and improvement opportunities are reviewed at weekly department and division huddles. Daily demand for volunteer assistance from internal specialty clinics within the hospital, to escort patients from one appointment to another, has also increased by 25% this quarter over last year. As more patients and families become aware of the effectiveness of the program, the requests have steadily increased.

Simple acts of kindness upon arrival, amazing what a little guidance and a friendly smile can do to enhance a patient’s experience.  Volunteer Services has attempted to alleviate some challenges associated with hospital navigation while providing an excellent experience for patients and visitors. 

Contact Information:

Title: Interim Manager, Volunteer Services

Contact information:

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