Friday, October 14, 2016

Senator Hannon's Senior Health Fair

Table at the Fair

I set up a table at Senator Kemp Hannon’s Senior Health Fair to distribute literature to the people (mostly over 60) who might be interested in patient safety.  PULSE of NY, now called Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy, has had a table there for many years and it has proven to be a wonderful networking event.  We have always been grateful to Senator Hannon for including us in this lively community event.   

For years it was a great opportunity for me to spend time with my parents who have been volunteers for 20 years, then just my mother, and now with them in Florida, it’s a chance to spend time with other Pulse volunteers as we meet the community.

Ideally, I suppose, we are supposed to be making the community aware of our services and how we can help. Instead each year it seems to be a bigger and better event for older folks to go trick or treating.  Just before Halloween the tables are piled with give-aways like pens, back scratchers, hand sanitizers and yes, lots of candy.  Some of the merchants even joke about who has the best candy and we find it fun to swap!

After all these years of setting up tables at fairs, it’s hard to imagine the best way to approach people about patient safety.  Why isn’t the public more interested in becoming an involved patient?  The people on either side of me who worked for an insurance company and another nonprofit each had personal stories of medical care that would fall under patient safety or medical injury.  They got it - but had no plans to share their experience so others could learn from it.  They suffered in silence.  What is the shame?

If we say “medical error” is there automatic blame?  I can assure you that when there is a medical injury, 100% of the time there is a patient involved but yet still patients are left out of the conversation.  That has to change!  Always looking for suggestions how.