-Judge Brian Hendrickson
We have all heard the phrase, “There is no “I” in TEAM”. It is especially popular in sport; however, it is used in any circumstance when it is important to remember that no one person is any more important than anyone of the other team members. For the best outcomes, individuals must always set aside personal egos and do what is best for advancing the team.
When considering your own health and the health of your family, do you take on this sort of team-approach philosophy? Are there multiple members on your team that contribute to your well-being? And if there are, does any one member take on the captain’s role or does each member share equally the task of keeping you at your best?
Most Canadians identify with the traditional physician-centre model of primary health care delivery; the family physician being the usual first contact and gatekeeper for your health care needs. However, this “non-team” approach may not be in the patient’s best interests. Nearly 15 years ago, Ontario sought a different approach to the delivery of health services that very much emphasized a model that was more patient-centred, a team approach. At a time when the money was becoming increasingly scarce for health care and health inequities were very evident, the traditional method of Hendrickson has been an active member of the legal community in Saskatchewan and has published legal articles and lectured on many occasions. He has been a Bencher with the Law Society of Saskatchewan and received his Queen’s Counsel designation in 2008.
Judge Hendrickson is replacing Judge Douglas Kovatch who is moving to the Provincial Court in Regina. health care delivery was being questioned as to whether it was suiting the needs of Canadians. Health care reform resulted in the development of 3 types of team models that put the patient more at the centre of care. Community Health Centres (CHCs), Family Health Teams (FHTs) and Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics (NPLCs) were created in Ontario with the idea that patients’ needs were best met with multi-disciplinary collaboration. Physicians, nurse practitioners, dieticians, pharmacists, counsellors and even chiropractors were part of many of these teams, all working under one roof, to ensure you had access to the best care. While these models differed mostly in terms of how the care-givers were paid, they all were similar in that they promoted patient-centred care that was in the “right place, at the right time, and by the right health-care practitioner”. While there were many positive outcomes for the patient and health inequities lessened, the team approach was slow to catch on. Most provinces, unfortunately, have been slow to latch on to this team approach or have not even considered it at all.
If the team approach has been shown to be beneficial to one’s health, and if government is unwilling to advance this notion, it is up to you to create your own team, with you as the captain. While there is a good chance your team may be spread out across the city instead of under one roof, you can still create a team philosophy as long as there is continued communication and each one of your caregivers respects the other team members and the captain (you).
While there is no “I” in TEAM, there can be an MD, an NP, a DC as well as a number of other healthful letters.
Judge Brian Hendrickson speaks at the Bar Admission Ceremony at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Moose Jaw. Matthew Gourlie photograph