Volunteer Reflections: The meaning of patient-centred care

OSA Surveyor, Lisa D. reflects on her volunteer time inviting residents living at a long-term care home in Vancouver to share their experiences of their care.

Just thinking about the day. Central City Lodge is a busy care home right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver. Residents come and go constantly, as do staff and visitors.

Today was no exception. I was very happy to see B.C. Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie entering the building to join me on an afternoon shift at the ‘Lodge’. It was my third shift as a Volunteer Surveyor on the initiative, all spent at this particular home. Of course this was not Isobel’s ‘first rodeo’, so with minimal instruction, off she went to continue where I left off the day before.

After a couple of hours we both returned to the central office to finalize the paperwork and check in with each other. I was happy to hear that Isobel had completed a survey I had started with a very talkative resident the day before. It can work well doing the survey in stages so the resident doesn’t get overtired and bored with the process. Residents are also often happy to anticipate another visit with us and the opportunity for a bit of a chat.

And for me, learning about each resident is part of what I love about this volunteer role. Residents come from every walk of life, I’ve interviewed a musician, a barber, a logger – learned about their favourite foods, where they grew up, and captured a lot of valuable feedback on their current living situation. I love that we’re asking, even though their circumstances can sometimes make their replies difficult to understand. This is the meaning of true patient-centred care and I was happy to be able to share my enthusiasm for the initiative with Isobel in person. The photo you see is one I snapped of her at the end of her shift!

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