My name is Maya Pajevic and I am a patient advisor for Alberta Health Services. I am beyond thrilled that AHS is participating in the global movement to change the conversation between patients and providers by asking the simple question What Matters to You?
It might seem like it’s too simple, that little question – but I can tell you firsthand how much of an impact that question has made on my life.
My health journey started on August 17th, 2002; I was only 6 when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. That night I had a stroke and the following day required heart surgery to remove blood clots. I’ve been in and out of doctor’s offices, specialist clinics, operating rooms and diagnostic lab services more times than I could ever count.
For a long time, it felt like my health journey was something that was happening to me, something that staff and physicians were doing for me. And don’t get me wrong – I appreciated all the work and the thoughtful care that was happening around my health conditions – but I never felt in control or even that I had a voice that mattered. After all, they were the experts!
Then, one day, during one of many visits to decide on a treatment plan, someone asked what mattered to me.
That question made a world of difference for me. Suddenly, I felt like I was the captain of my care, not simply an observer on the sidelines. Suddenly, I felt like an equal member of my care team, and I took the chance to share my dreams, goals, fears – to share who I was as a human being, instead of a collection of conditions and diseases.
That question made a huge impact for me, and changed the way I fit into the healthcare system. So on June 6th let’s change the conversation by asking at every healthcare interaction – What matters to you?