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New campaign helps Kootenay Boundary residents navigate health care

Announcing the Empowering the Citizen Patient campaign
The Empowering the Citizen Patient series offers information for Kootenay Boundary residents in need of health care assistance. File photo

Submitted by the Kootenay Boundary Patient Advisory Committee and Community

The Kootenay Boundary Patient Advisory Committee and Community (PACC) is pleased to announce the launch of Empowering the Citizen Patient.

In challenging times, with a family practitioner shortage and many barriers to patient care, the Empowering the Citizen Patient initiative strives to uplift community spirit, deliver actionable tips, and help everyone participate more effectively in their health care at all levels.

“Knowledge is the cornerstone of empowerment,” says PACC co-chair and Grand Forks resident Leora Gesser. “As a community member and patient, I want to reassure community members that the voice of patients is being heard. I want to tell people about all the amazing, collaborative efforts going on to make our health system work better for us, and that we can get involved ourselves to help improve our health and health care in Kootenay Boundary. That’s what being a citizen patient is all about.”

The first article in the campaign, “Healthy People, Healthy Communities – What’s Happening in Health Care?”, includes an easy-to-understand, interactive infographic to help residents quickly see who handles what in our health care system.

The infographic makes it easy to see how teamwork is key to improving health care: government agencies, health authorities, practitioners, non-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations and patient advocacy groups are all working together collaboratively. This first article also features a useful list of resources, making it easier for patients to find the support they need for their own health care.

“With the knowledge of how the medical system works, we have a better chance to understand and even get involved in improving our health system,” says Slocan resident Madeleine Perriere. “This article is clear and informative for us to navigate according to our needs.”

Future articles in the series will cover information about health conditions (e.g. chronic pain, hypertension, and osteoarthritis), understanding and destigmatizing mental health challenges, as well as tips on what to do before, during and after health care appointments.

“Our Empowering the Citizen Patient campaign passes on valuable information we’ve collected, and it serves as a call to action,” says Maria Klement, PACC co-chair and Bonnington resident. “Throughout the series we will be actively seeking feedback from Kootenay Boundary residents to ensure that patient voices are heard, and represented at every level of health care.”

Visit to view the first article and sign up to receive each article as they are published.

The Kootenay Boundary Patient Advisory Committee and Community is a group of local residents working together as volunteers to bring patient perspectives on important issues to health care providers and policymakers in our region. The PACC works in collaboration with health care partners to help shape improvements that strengthen patient- and family-centred care in our region.