The Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction (BCMHA) is a tertiary care facility for adults with the most severe and complex concurrent disorders across BC. People with concurrent disorders in BC are highly marginalized, often living with other challenges that further complicate their concurrent disorders and make recovery challenging. BCMHA is the only integrated program of its kind in BC.

In this context, Ayesha Sackey (Clinical Services Manager) has done innovative work to empower and engage patients and families as partners in care decisions and policy design. Ayesha’s traditional role is to manage and provide clinical expertise to services; however, in response to the complex challenges experienced by this patient population, she proactively established and implemented an evidence-based, person-and-family-centered-care (PFCC) approach to the organization.

In particular, the Partnerships in Care (PiC) Committee is a peer-led Steering Committee of patients and families from across BC focusing on quality improvement, patient experience and patient safety. The group functions at the level of “collaborate” on the IAP2 spectrum of public participation. Under Ayesha’s leadership and facilitation, PiC has identified and addressed a number of key concerns from patients, such as transitions and discharge, crisis management, involvement of and supports for families; and as a result, have designed and implemented several initiatives, including community-facing knowledge products and a mutual support group that meets in-person and virtually. Since the roll-out of these initiatives, the Centre has observed a significant decline in the number of complaints and concerns from patients and families. Both partner groups have expressed feeling empowered to address issues before they start, and engaged and equipped to respond to issues after they happen.

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