When patients and families share their stories, they offer wisdom from which we can learn and improve. Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Patient and Family Stories (herein after referred to as Patient Stories) feature provides staff with access to brief patient stories in audio clip form. This practice itself is client/family centered and captures the experiences and perspectives of the patient and family, as the stories are told in their own words, in their own voice, thereby empowering them as active partners in health services planning and delivery. The intent of Patient Stories is to be a launching pad for discussion, learning and improvement among teams. Teams are encouraged to listen to a patient story and discuss the two questions posed at the end of each clip. Even if the story is from a different area of the organization than the one in which the listener(s) work, as it often will be, the learning is transferable.
Since the initiative launch in May 2017, a Patient Stories library consisting of twenty (20) recorded audio clips was developed and made accessible to all staff members. The library continues to grow as Patient Stories are recorded. The majority of these stories speak directly to the most commonly identified patient safety incidents including communication issues, medication-related events, and falls. A survey conducted in June of 2018 showed staff and leaders took specific actions to improve patient safety after listening to one or more stories.
While many Patient Stories identify opportunities for improvement, some offer positive acknowledgement of the efforts of staff and leaders. Sharing these stories additionally helps build a positive patient safety culture throughout our organization, and serves as a way to report complimentary feedback from patients and families directly to staff.
Patient Stories are now being used across the organization to begin team meetings, start a discussion on quality and safety, and refocus the work on the experience of the patient and family.

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