Volunteering to Make a Meaningful Difference

After many privileged and wonderful years working in education, both as a teacher and principal, Jacquie Cushing Dill is now retired and one of Oak Valley Health’s Patient Experience Participants (PEP).

The specialized volunteer role is embedded within our organization and contributes in a variety of ways to help us deliver an extraordinary patient experience by sharing perspectives, opinions and providing input on decisions that improve quality of care.

Jacquie, who was already a volunteer at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital as an Information Representative providing information to patients and visitors, including hospital navigation, was approached by a staff member in the Community Resources department who asked if she would be interested in being a PEP.

“As I could immediately see the value of having patient and family member voices and perspectives on the various hospital committees and community liaising forums, I said yes and have been a PEP ever since,” says Jacquie.

“My PEP experience has given me the opportunity to collaborate with others and contribute in some small way, to the good work of Oak Valley Health.”

Having witnessed the planning and building of Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital in the 80s and 90s and since then its more recent addition, she hoped she could make a meaningful difference.

Throughout her time as PEP, Jacquie has been involved in a number of committees and initiatives including: Medical Operations committee, Empowering Our People, a strategic advisory committee dedicated to the promotion of leadership development throughout the organization, Workplace Violence Prevention committee, Patient Education committee, Honoured to Care Awards as a member of the selection committee, Information at Discharge committee helping to review, highlight and develop resources and practices for patients once they are ready to go home, and more.

Although the pandemic brought its challenges, Jacquie and the PEP team didn’t stop. Throughout the last two years, PEPs have continued to contribute virtually with teams across the organization.

“As we know, health care has never, I would argue, in our lifetime been more challenged than over the course of the past two years,” says Jacquie. “COVID-19 has taken us in directions that most of us could not have imagined. And, through it all, members of the Oak Valley Health team have been there for us – day in and day out – and our collective appreciation has been rightly galvanized and expressed.”

With the warm weather on its way, Jacquie is looking forward to being outside. “I love camping, going for walks and country drives, and appreciate the beauty in the simple things in life – good food, time with family and friends, and kindness. Oh yes, and chocolate!”

National Volunteer Week is April 24 to 30. Remember to thank PEPs like Jacquie and all the countless other volunteers who commit their time, supporting Oak Valley Health.