A Story

Coaching On How to Use the Patient Voice

Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) supported 22 improvement initiatives across Canada in 2014-15 to include the patient/caregiver perspective. CFHI provided their projects coaching help from experienced patient and family caregiver advisors (PFAs).


Heather Thiessen, a Saskatoon-based patient advisor, is just such a coach. She has been a patient for over 30 years and is motivated to be a strong voice for change in healthcare.

CFHI is a not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Canada, dedicated to accelerating healthcare improvement.


Many groups and organizations don’t know how to include patients and caregivers as participants in their improvement work.

CFHI is supporting this shift in culture by encouraging the involvement of patients and caregivers. Partnering with patients and families in quality improvement provides different insights and better results than providers working on their own.


CFHI set up the Partnering with Patients and Families Collaborative to provide education, coaching, funding, and other support to 22 teams from healthcare organizations across Canada to partner with patients and families in designing, delivering and evaluating quality improvement initiatives.


This was an 18-month initiative to support the use of PFAs in improvement work that unfortunately came to an end.

Bravo to CFHI and to coaches like Heather who support others in effectively including the patient and family caregiver perspective.  

For more about the CFHI initiative