By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
If you or someone you support has received health care from local health or community-care services in the past three years, if you have an interest in working in partnership with service-provider partners to improve the delivery of these services in Northumberland County – if you can answer yes to both, the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland may have a volunteer opportunity for you on the Experience Partner Council.
Launched in 2021, this initiative works to ensure patients, family members and caregivers have a clear and equal voice in advancing OHT-N priorities for health and community-care services. Community volunteers can serve as experience partners to play an active role in OHT-N governance, planning and project team structures.
OHTs across the province are devising new ways of organizing the planning and delivery of health and community-care services in a way that is more connected to local patients and clients. As one of the provinces first OHTs, Northumberland’s OHT has already implemented a Rural Outreach Clinic in Colborne, a Community Paramedicine Program, a Volunteer Peer Support Program, collaborative strategic and quality-improvement planning, cancer-screening awareness and information, and, o course, a co-ordinated response tot he COVID-19 pandemic.
With new projects getting under way, more patient, family and caregiver participation will be needed to ensure sound and sustainable decisions are made, and the right work is prioritized.
This call for expressions of interest expands the OHT’N Experience Partner Council from a small core drawn from OHT-N member organizations to a larger team offering more ways to join the conversation.
As well, a new Experience Partner Project Pool will also be formed, with a less-time-intensive requirements – better suited to those interested and able to brign their lived experience to particular projects.
Finally, a virtual Engage OHT-N experience partner community is planned to enable smaller, faster issue-by-issue engagement on specific questions or issues before the OHT-N.
The size of the OHT-N’s Experience Partner team will fluctuate, as it depends on local interest and OHT-N and Experience Partner priorities.
Time commitment will vary depending on participation opportunities selected.
The Experience Partner Council currently meets monthly on a virtual basis for sessions that usually last two hours and are held in the daytime. As well, these council members participate (according to their experience and interest) on OHT-N committees or projects.
The monthly time commitment and method of engagement for the Experience Partner Pool and the Engage OHT-N experience partner community will vary, with activities matched with committee and project needs and member input.
Northumberland patients, families and caregivers interested in volunteering are invited to review the Terms of Reference and supporting recruitment documents, as well as complete the Expression of Interest Form, at https://www.ohtnorthumberland.ca/en/ohtn/oht-n-experience-partner-council.aspx
You can also reach out to the OHT-N at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-396-6486.