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Stuff Patients Want

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When Christine McMillan arrives at Kingston General Hospital for knee surgery this week, she’ll have an overnight bag packed with warm socks, slippers and the slim teal and yellow book that gave her that packing advice — a collection of hospital tips and how-to’s that she wrote with her neighbours.

From Patients Who Know: A Hospital Handbook acts much like a travel guide, offering practical advice on the language, cuisine, people and customs of what is for many people a foreign land: the hospital. Twenty-five Canadian seniors collaborated with OpenLab, a design and innovation centre based out of Toronto’s University Health Network, to write a common-sense guide to help patients navigate their stays.

“It’s the difference between what the hospital tells you versus what you want to know. The frustrations, the workarounds, all those things that go unwritten,” OpenLab creative director Tai Huynh says. - Karen Palmer, Special to the Star, Feb. 13, 2017

Available for download on OpenLab’s website, the nine-chapter handbook includes a packing checklist, definitions for frequently used medical terms and types of doctors, a worksheet to identify various members of one’s care team and even tear-out message cards to help patients communicate.

OpenLab’s Stuff Patients Want team invites patients and patient groups to contribute content for their next edition of the book. “You can contribute a chapter, a page, a tool or an idea. That way, the next edition will be even better.”