Community is central to St. Joseph’s Mission – a community teaching hospital, working in partnership with our communities, committed to fostering a healthy community for all.
Being an exemplary community hospital means that St. Joseph’s is a vital community member, Putting Patients First, and Enhancing the Health of the Communities we Serve. We achieve these strategic priorities through our clinical programs and services, but we also do it by being a leader in engaging patients, families and community in all of our activities.
An International Consensus, A Provincial Imperative
St. Joseph’s Health Centre’s (SJHC) commitment to patient, family and community engagement is reflected in a growing international consensus regarding the valuable contributions that engagement makes to improving quality health care, and ultimately, achieving good health outcomes.
Closer to home, the Act establishing Ontario’s Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) states that “each health service provider shall engage the community of diverse persons and entities in the area where it provides health services when developing plans and setting priorities for the delivery of health services”. This stems from the belief that a community’s health needs and priorities are best determined by the community itself. The importance of community engagement is officially recognized as well in our accreditation process: working with community partners to assess the community’s health needs and actively engaging those partners to set priorities are two primary principles in Accreditation Canada’s Standards for a Proactive and Supportive Organization.
Defining Community Engagement
Our definition of “Community” in is comprehensive, including patients, their families (internal community) and other individuals in the geographic area of the Health Centre; and local community and health services providers and any other person or entity that provides services in our catchment (external community).
Community engagement is a process of working collaboratively with people and organizations in our community who are affiliated with us by the care they receive, geographic proximity, special interests, or other shared issues. It often involves partnerships and coalitions that help mobilize resources and influence systems, that change relationships among partners, and that serve as catalysts for developing and/or changing policies, programs, and practices.
Community engagement can thus occur at any level and location in the organization, as well as being initiated by outside stakeholder groups. At St. Joseph’s Health Centre it is the Patient, Family and Community Engagement PF&CE Department that has the specific privilege of seeking opportunities and developing relationships through which our patients, families and broader community can be engaged in the activities of the Health Centre and vice versa.
The overarching goal of PF&CE is to support the Vision, Mission, and Values of St. Joseph’s Health Centre. Our underlying goal is to foster engagement and awareness across the organization in order to enhance the health of the patients, families, and communities we serve. To these ends, we bring a patient, family and community perspective to the Health Centre’s planning, policies and programs; promote reflection and analysis regarding St. Joseph’s patient, family and community engagement and collaboration practices; but also reach out and bring a hospital perspective to community partners: we believe engagement is a two-way process.
The PF&CE Department will be happy to help in whatever engagement initiatives you want to consider.
For more information about Patient, Family and Community Engagement or to talk with us about engagement opportunities, obtaining community data or investigating possible projects please call us at 416-530-6000 ext. 3596.