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Tommy Douglas’ Vision of Patient and Family Centered Care

by: Paige Lennox

Canadians are proud of their health care, and rightly so. Unfortunately, it is a one size fits all system, so all Canadians get health care, but they don’t always get the right patient and family-centered care

Our System…

In Canada, the health care system has grown larger and more confusing since it was founded by Tommy Douglas in 1962. Health Advocates (also known as Patient Advocates) are working to change how Canadians access health care, so they get the best patient and family-centered care possible. 

Tommy Douglas thought every Canadian had the right to healthcare. He might not recognize modern medicine, but he would recognize the spirit behind Health Advocates. When he founded Medicare in 1962, it covered 17,000,000 Canadians, now it covers 37,000,000. Making sure every patient is treated properly, fairly, and safely can challenge any system. That is why Health Advocates play an important and critical role.

Health Advocates…

  1. Have personal and professional experience within the healthcare system

  2. Help you understand what is going on, what questions to ask and to whom 

  3. Come from nursing, paramedical, social work and medical backgrounds to help you communicate with your medical team

  4. Work one on one with you to help navigate the system

  5. Reduce stress for you and your family 

  6. Act in your best interest

With so many patients and doctors across the country, health care is confusing. Not every patient knows how the system works. They don’t know who to talk to, what tests are needed, or what their diagnosis means. Health Advocates help translate medical jargon and help patients understand what is happening. 

Tommy Douglas wanted a system that focused on the patient, and for a long time, it did. But now with only four beds for every five patients, this is much more difficult.  Patients risk losing their personal connection with doctors, nurses and the health care system. Health Advocates keep the connection alive, by supporting, planning and acting for the patient. Tommy Douglas’ vision is there, and Health Advocates are keeping it moving forward.

People can fall through the cracks. You might not:

  1. Understand your diagnosis

  2. Get the best treatment

  3. See the right doctors

  4. Get the right tests

  5. Be taken seriously

Tommy Douglas…

He helped to invent Canadian health care.

Health Advocates are inventing a new style of care that is personal, professional and compassionate. 

Tommy Douglas had a dream brought to life. Medicare for all. Each and every Canadian has access to health care. 17 million then, 37 million now. When something grows so big, it becomes complicated. That’s where Health Advocates play a very important role. Their goal? Helping Canadians get the best healthcare possible in a very complicated medical system. Tommy Douglas would be proud of them. 

So how can you get the best health care possible? By partnering with a Health Advocate. When a serious health issue happens, a Health Advocate can help you connect with the right doctors, they can explain what is happening, and what will happen. They work with that person to get them to where they want to be – happy and healthy. 

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