Since 2019, Melessia has served as a Patient and Family Advisor (PFA) at NYGH. Melessia’s motivation? Giving back to the hospital that saved her life.
In December 2017, Melessia started losing her mobility and speech while shopping for groceries. She was rushed to NYGH and assessed. An attending physician told Melessia that she had had a stroke brought on by diabetes and hypertension and she was admitted to an inpatient unit. Melessia recalls, “The nursing team was caring and supportive. And the extended care team, including a neurologist and speech therapist, were gentle and kind. Collectively, they made my hospital stay a positive experience.”
As a PFA, Melessia has embraced opportunities to get involved in making NYGH an even stronger organization. She is currently collaborating with Quality Improvement Specialists and staff on a Baruch/Weisz Quality Board Redesign project focused on how information is shared and used by staff and patients in the clinic. She is grateful for her role in helping to design improvements to the patient and family experience, and for all that she has learned while doing so.
For 6 months during the pandemic, Melessia temporarily stepped away from her volunteer PFA role. She worked as a Customer Service Representative for the vaccine customer service centre, helping patients to schedule appointments and directing them to information. Melessia shares, “I felt grateful that I was able to help members of the North York community access an important service at a critical time.”
Melessia enjoys using her personal, lived healthcare experience as a patient to support teams in making decisions that affect patients and the community. She is empowered in building relationships with staff, care providers and fellow patients, and knows that her voice is heard. She feels confident that spending time with others and sharing her perspective will result in meaningful change.
When she reflects on her decision to become a PFA 3 years ago, Melessia feels extremely proud, “I am thankful that I can share my lived experience and story for the benefit of patients and their loved ones.”
Melessia, thank you for ensuring that people come first in everything you do!