This article appeared in the July 2022 issue of The Link. To receive Oak Valley Health’s community newsletter, subscribe now.

At Oak Valley Health, listening and learning from our patients, families, and members of our community is an important part of our ‘Honoured to Care’ culture. Our top priority is delivering an extraordinary patient experience, and to be able to deliver on this, we needed to embed the patient voice and perspective. With this in mind, in 2017, we introduced the role of Patient Experience Participants (PEP) working in partnership with the Patient Experience Department.

“PEPs are specialized volunteers embedded across our organization,” says Michelle Samm, director, Patient Experience, Quality & Safety and Infection Prevention and Control. “They contribute 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. They are a valued member of the team, and actively participate in a number of ways across the hospital. They sit on councils, committees, working groups, interviews for new hires, and internal and external engagement, including participation in community fairs and events.”

The pandemic brought on a lot of change to how health care providers delivered care, and how patients received care. There were many challenges and learnings during one of the biggest health care emergencies we have experienced, but Oak Valley Health used this as an opportunity to ensure PEPs were engaged and actively participated in decision-making.

“Our PEPs adapted quickly to the changing landscape by meeting virtually and continuing to provide the patients perspective to inform improvements,” says Michelle. “They provided invaluable feedback and suggestions to ensure patients and families felt informed and involved in their loved one’s care even though they could not be present.”

During one of the most difficult health care years in our history, Oak Valley Health’s overall hospital experience during 2020 to 2021 did not falter. When compared with hospitals across the province, Oak Valley Health‘s performance was on par with them, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

“This is a true testament to our staff, physicians, and volunteers working together to ensure our patients receive high quality, safe care in an environment where everyone feels heard and respected,” says Michelle. “This is our honoured to care culture shining bright.”

Join Our Team!

Oak Valley Health is currently recruiting PEPs to join our team. You can get involved at your location of choice (Markham Stouffville Hospital, Uxbridge Hospital, or Reactivation Care Centre) or participate virtually.

To become a PEP, you must be 18 years or older. We welcome all interested parties including:

  • Patients/ community members who have had a recent hospital experience in the last three years
  • Family members and caregivers of former or current patients

To apply, download and complete the application form and return it to

Questions can be sent to or by calling 905-472-7373 ext. 6914.


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