Meet our client and family advisors!
As members of our National Advisors Council, the lived experiences of our client and family advisors help shed light on how our we can improve and truly deliver person-centred care.
Our client and family advisors assist in shaping programs, services and initiatives designed to improve care; bring the needs and experiences of clients, patients, and their families to the table; and collaborate and partner with health-care professionals, policymakers, volunteers and leaders.
Wendy Gauthier, co-chair
Wendy's experiences in navigating the health-care system have motivated her to support systems, process improvements, advocacy, education and awareness initiatives. Wendy looks forward to helping further care navigation, transitions in care, communication, education, access to information, advocacy, community care and digital health. She is grateful to have been given the opportunity to inform policy, process and procedures from a caregiver perspective.
Dorothy Macdonald, co-chair
Dorothy has been actively involved with VON for the past 20 years. Before her husband John passed away, he had been a VON client and advisor for 15 years. The torch has now passed to Dorothy to keep John's voice alive.
As a member of the Community Corporation board for VON Peterborough Victoria Haliburton, Dorothy shares the thoughts and perspectives of the larger community. As a VON client and family advisor, she colours the decision making of VON staff and management with her experience. She is an advocate for home and community care services and strongly supports appropriate resourcing and ease of access to these services for all Canadians.
Kathy is a patient partner who draws on her lived experience both as a patient and as a caregiver to support patient care partnership across the continuum of care. For her, the phrase “Without compassion there is no care” is a constant reminder of the importance of patient- and family-centred care in our communities, including care delivered in the home. Kathy is deeply interested in the rapid evolution of digital health technologies during the pandemic, including leveraging new technologies to improve access to care and health-care information without compromising the access and quality of that care for any population.
Amy received caregiver support from VON as a brain injury survivor. She has also been a caregiver to her mother. VON was there for Amy during her mother's illness, including proving palliative care and grief counselling. These experiences inspired Amy to join the Advisors Council, as she wants future caregivers to have access to the same caring support that she experienced.
Amy is thankful for the care and consideration of the VON engagement team, which has allowed her to grow her passion for health care into a role as an advocate for better health and palliative care. Amy is also a member of the CIHI Palliative Care Expert Advisory Group.
Lindsay 's mother tragically suffered a severe stroke, resulting in years of significant health-related issues. Lindsay has been her mother’s health-care advocate, caregiver, system navigator and voice since that day.
As a social worker, Lindsay understands the importance of advocacy and how vital it is to be a part of the systems that are involved in making positive changes. As a client and family advisor, Lindsay is excited to give back to VON and ensure that people like her mother still have a voice in the health-care system.
Kim is excited to contribute to an organization that is proactively looking for client and caregiver feedback to inform and improve their service.
Kim has been a caregiver for her elderly mother for more than 15 years. She says that her mother’s journey through Nova Scotia's health-care system has been one of austerity at every turn, with the notable exception of VON. Kim has been impressed with the care her mother has received and the dedication the nurses have to their profession, often expressing how much they loved their jobs.
Calvin’s lung disabilities have led him to be actively involved as a patient partner in the health-care system. His motto? "Communicate and educate!"
Calvin started Every Breath Counts, a monthly peer group that provides people with lived experience of lung disease with guidance in navigating the health system. For more than a decade he has been involved with various patient and care advisory groups, including with St. Joseph Care Group, Health Quality Ontario, The Toronto General Hospital, The University Health Network, the Ontario government, the International Foundation for Integrated Care (Ireland) Ireland and CAG. Calvin is looking forward to being a part of VON's digital health transformation.