Patient experience advisor wins big award from Cancer Care Ontario

News / General
By Matthew Manor

Marla Rosen spends about 70 hours a month at KGH, but she's not a paid employee. She's a patient experience advisor who works with hospital staff and administration to improve policies, programs and services that affect patients and their families.

Last week, Rosen received the Human Touch Award in recognition of her exceptional work as a volunteer and advocate for cancer patients and families across the South East region.
"The Human Touch Award is one of Cancer Care Ontario's highest honours," says Brenda Carter, regional vice-president of cancer services. "It shines a spotlight on a select few cancer care providers and volunteers who have made outstanding contributions to compassionate care for cancer patients."
Rosen became interested in the patient and family experience after her husband was diagnosed with late-stage colorectal cancer and underwent treatment at KGH. During his diagnosis, Rosen advocated on his behalf, kept detailed records of his appointments and medications and scoured the Internet for information about his disease.
"I was so thankful whenever someone could answer a question promptly or simply lend a sympathetic ear," says Rosen. "I wanted to offer that kind of support to every patient."
Rosen joined the KGH Patient and Family Advisory Council nearly two years ago.
Today, she brings the patient and family perspective to many aspects of hospital operations and patient care - from advising on the design of new cancer care facilities to educating staff about patient and family needs to helping us interview new hires. She is also chair of the South East Regional Cancer Program's Patient & Family Advisory Council, which helps translate feedback from patients and families across the region into better cancer care.
"Marla is so deserving of this award," says Carter. "She always gives generously of her time, energy and spirit, and her insights are helping us care for cancer patients at KGH and beyond in a whole new way."
Rosen is one of 43 patient experience advisors at KGH who volunteer their time. Many sit on long-term committees, such as program councils.
Others are on short-term committees, such as working groups, and a few help regularly with presentations, like new staff orientations. In fact, in just two years, KGH has integrated patient experience advisors into more than 130 facets of hospital life. Our commitment to hearing the patient and family voice is being recognized across Canada and even the U.S., and KGH has become a go to source for other hospitals interested in getting a successful patient and family feedback program off the ground.
"I'm celebrating this award on behalf of everyone at KGH who is committed to bringing patient and family centred care to life," says Rosen. "Together, we're ensuring our patients and families are better supported during some of their most difficult times. I'm proud to be a part of that."