What if… starts today!

What if…it was easy to do the right thing, and care for our patients and clients the way we would want to be cared for?

What if…you could be the voice in creating a culture where you are valued and you could achieve results you are proud of?

What if…we asked you what you really think about your experience working at VCH and acted on what you said?


My experience over the past three and a half years as VCH’s president and CEO, has been inspiring, and challenging, in ways I never anticipated.

I have been a senior leader, a patient, a daughter helping my parents to access care, and a person moved by the determination of our staff. I have also seen a struggle to get the traction we need to truly transform care.

The truth is, we are not moving fast enough and time is running out as we rapidly reach the point when our patients outnumber our providers, our acute and residential care beds are full, and we cannot provide all of the care our communities deserve. It isn’t from lack of trying. And, so I returned to our True North and got to thinking …

Are we truly putting People First? And what do those words really mean?

I believe those words mean that we create an environment where everyone can do their best work and reach their full potential – both in delivering care and in improving how we care for our communities. We have inspired leaders and compassionate staff who provide excellent care despite barriers that may be out of their control. Yet, too often, our staff feel run down and frustrated with their workload, waitlists, and an inability to improve things. We are making progress, but I want to do more; I want a place where you LOVE coming to work – a place where you can deliver the best care and make a real difference in improving care for our communities. Imagine for a moment what that would look and feel like. How would it impact you, our patients, residents and clients?

Starting today, I want all of us to ask “What if…?” and be a part of creating our new future. We have the power, together, to transform our culture, look at old problems in totally new ways, and have each and every one of us feeling that VCH is truly “People First.” Saying the words is not enough. To achieve different results, we need a different approach. The transformation I envision starts with our people. That means you and me.

Share your voice

On September 25th you will receive an email invitation to participate in an organization-wide survey, My VCH, which will ask about your experiences working at VCH. I am asking you to take the time to participate. Take the time to make a difference. Be honest. Your responses will help us understand how truly “healthy” VCH is and what we need to do next. The VCH Senior Leadership Team is 100% behind this and ready to work together to act on your feedback. We are committed to sharing the results by November 15th and our action plan by December 15th.

Together, let’s have the courage to shift how we think and act. Let’s transform our health care system and embark together on the next chapter of our True North journey. An exciting adventure that begins with

“What if…?”


Mary Ackenhusen
President & CEO

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Find out why everyone is going to want to do this survey


  1. Guy Felicella says:

    I work in the DTES and I believe we need to work closer with other providers in order to help all people.
    There is a massive crisis with the overdose epidemic and we need to cover or provide all opiod replacement treatment options such as hydromorphone. We should also head up a project where we meet people where they’re at instead of expecting them to walk in to one of our clinics.Have a team go into the alleys with laptops and talk to people about their needs and connect them with services such as addiction and mental health services or primary care. This I believe would be a huge step moving forward and it would show others how much we truly care about human life.

    1. Miranda Compton says:

      I completely agree with you, Guy! One new program that has been implemented as part of the overdose crisis response is the Overdose Outreach Team (based out of the orange trailer at 58 W. Hastings) – this team has had some early successes at connecting with people at high risk of overdose whereever they are – If you would like them to reach out to anyone, they can be contacted at 604-360-2874.

    2. A Believer says:

      Here Here! Move the service to the client, not the client to the service! It is so difficult for so many of our clients to access services simply because they don’t have the means to travel to them!

  2. Mary Ackenhusen, CEO says:

    Yes! We need to push ourselves out of our traditional models of care. And empower staff to make it happen!

  3. d martin says:

    Richmond hospital need to have a clinic next to our ER where the little things can be weeded out from the more serious things to decrease the volume and wait times. More or less clinics need to have extended hours so people are not using our ER for family practice issues.

  4. Landon James says:

    I think there is an opportunity for us to challenge our mental models of hospital care. So many patients are in hospital who only require one or two interventions per day (IV antibiotics, daily physio, monitoring bloodwork). These patients are bored, require minimal observation and many have families sitting at their bedside. Why not send them home and have a massive “inpatient clinic” where they can come once or twice a day for their miscellaneous treatments, see the physician and then back into the care of themselves and their families? How many six-week stays could turn into one-week stays if we challenged ourselves to look at what is possible instead of what “could go wrong” by having people recover at home?

    Want to take it a step further? NP and RN in a vehicle 24/7 available to go these peoples’ houses if they feel it isn’t working out to assist/re-assure or re-triage back to hospital. Before a nursing home sends their resident in to the ED for assessment, send the Emergency RN & NP out to the nursing home to see them. Quick diagnosis with a portable bloodwork machine, start treatment (which for most would usually be IV fluid and antibiotics), go back in 12-24 hours for re-assessment, second dose of antibiotics, etc. Avoiding one hospital day each day would more than pay for the program. Need an x-ray, send by ambulance straight to x-ray and back and look at it remotely – avoid the ED altogether.

    Two steps further? Use remote telemetry and video-conferencing to be available for patient and families to monitor q4h vital signs while they are away from the facility. There is so much ability for technology to move us forward and the only thing that has really changed in the structure of hospital care patterns since Florence Nightingale is more private rooms…we still think everyone needs to stay in house for things that likely could be treated at a distance using technology as a support.

    In the end it has always amazed me that people can take 3 weeks to get sick with something, deteriorate to the point of coming to hospital and we suddenly believe that we need to keep them in our bed and watch over them for weeks. A large majority of people could have some treatments started, go home and come back daily for progression of care. Or at least go home earlier than they would have if there were other options for these more invasive yet simple daily tasks (i.e., twice daily IV antibiotics and vital sign monitoring, quick 24/7 response if they think things aren’t going well).

    1. sherry stackhouse says:

      Wow-brilliant energy and suggestions already! We do need to challenge ourselves to think about what we can do differently.Clearly, people become sick 24/7 and we need to respond differently. I love the idea of NP/RN/paramedic outreach to the patient. Early response to a deteriorating patient will potentially prevent further decline. Our traditional models are no longer working as patients are sicker and living longer. Lets look together for ways to improve care delivery!

  5. Concerned says:

    Why in a developed country in the 21st century are we spending billions on healthcare?

    Instead of improving the living conditions and health of Canadians we are moving in the opposited direction to troubleshoot all the problems that our communities are facing. We all know that the cost of housing has hit people very hard and also the lack of access to good healthy food on a continuous basis.

    With a huge percentage of income going towards the rent it leaves very little to be spent on good food choices, paying for medications and treatments as required, hydrio, daycare costs, patients coping with families issues involving children or their parents, support services, counselling and the list goes on…..
    To assume that home based care is the best directive to cope with getting patients out of care facilities might not always be the answer when they are being forced to move out of their communities away from their doctors, families, neighbours or health contacts due to the cost of housing. What about those that are homeless, sleep on couches in temporary locations or are accessing care from a factility far away from their residence? I know many that have to commute to get the treatment that they required.

    There is a direct link with life stress factors and the result of people needing to access the healthcare system!!!! It’s time for our politicians and community leaders to focus on controlling the factors that are destroying our communities and families.

  6. melinda hasselback PHN says:

    Hi . Looking forward to this survey and bringing the voice of rural coastal forward . While I applaud all of the work that is being done in harm reduction to deal with the overdose crisis, the same harm is impacting the rural comminties in VCH . Maybe the numbers are less but all the same concerns exist .
    We also require expanded service and supports to assist us in providing quality care .

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