Friday, August 6, 2010

Seize The Moment

Posted by Teresa Pasquini, Danny's Mom

Following the Report Out for last week’s two Improvement Events, I was introduced to a gentlemen interviewing for a position at CCRMC, and I paraphrase, “This is Teresa Pasquini, she is the Mom of a consumer (psychiatric patient) who our system has harmed and she also has been harmed.” This is not a typical introduction from the CEO of a hospital. There is nothing more powerful than an acknowledgement of pain even if it is unintended and based on systemic barriers or defects. I so appreciated that transparent, humane introduction.

As I reflect over the past year that I have spent volunteering as a family member and advisor on the CHF Kaizen 3, the Healthcare Partnership, the Executive Operational Planning Team, the Behavioral Health Value Stream Mapping, the Behavioral Health Kaizen 1 and 2, and the Safety Event VSM, I have been very aware that this is a moment in time that must be seized. There are opportunities for learning, empowerment, transformation and healing that I never imagined.

Anna is right; the system has harmed my son and my family. Prior to my first Kaizen experience, last July, I would have justified blaming anybody that works in the system for that harm. Not anymore. I know better now. I now know that nobody comes to work to harm my son or my family. I have also learned that you can’t change what you can’t see and how blind one can be to the obvious. These lessons are teaching me to be less angry at the system that has harmed my family. That first Kaizen created our “Vision of Hope.”

When I uttered those words in my first Kaizen Report Out, I really didn’t know the weight it would carry or even what I meant. I was just high on the Kaizen spirit and knew that something big had happened. What did I mean by Vision? Was it the personal ability to see something or the organizational vision that would show us the direction we needed to go? But, we didn’t know where we were going, we couldn’t see the vision.

What about Hope? According to Wickipidia, “Hope can be passive in the sense of a wish, or active as a plan or idea, often against popular belief, with persistent, personal action to execute the plan or prove the idea." Well that is certainly true. When the Healthcare Partnership formed and created our “Vision of Hope” we were certainly wishing for a better way for our consumers, families and staff and we set out on a path of change that was certainly against popular belief. Bringing patients and families front and center, as partners of transformation, has not made everyone comfortable, but with persistence, we have made others see the vision, the plan. Our wish is coming true.

The Healthcare Partnership has created a forum for weekly brainstorming and support for system change. We didn’t know where we were going, but we kept feeling our way. We stepped on each other’s feelings and apologized and moved on. We kept coming together every week to build a logo, a mission statement, plan an event, support one another, and share our humanity. We have now splattered our vision of hope all over CCRMC and into the community, while we are learning, empowering, transforming, and healing.

I had my first guest entry on this blog a little over a year ago, upon the completion of my first Kaizen event at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center. I was invited to participate as the first family member on an improvement team at CCRMC. For me it was a life changing experience. It has opened doors, literally, that I never thought would open. The vision now has clarity and the hope is contagious.

My name is Teresa Pasquini, Danny’s mom. The mental health system has harmed my son and my family, but with the help of CCRMC staff and community partners, the wounds are healing and the vision is hopeful.

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