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Trudy Adam

Psychiatrist, BC Children's Hospital

Trudy Adam

When Trudy Adam lost a patient to suicide in 2015, she recognized that her team at BC Children’s Hospital’s Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry Unit could be working more collaboratively to monitor their patients’ well-being and to manage risk.

At the time, risk management was handled primarily by psychiatrists, with some opportunity for input from other members of the multidisciplinary team and from family members. Trudy saw room for improvement with the process and implemented an innovative way to identify and monitor risk in these patients during inpatient treatment. By adapting a tool created by forensic psychologists to identify risk, Trudy found a way to improve patient care, team collaboration, and family engagement in treatment.

Thanks to Trudy’s initiative, when patients are admitted to the inpatient mental health units at BC Children’s Hospital, there are now key differences in their care. Her team now comes together, using the risk management tool collaboratively, ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to express concerns and collaborate on solutions. This process has led to improved team collaboration, shared decision-making, and greater family involvement in difficult aspects of care planning.

Importantly, patients’ family members are now engaged in the risk assessments by sharing information about their children’s history and voicing their safety concerns. This helps provide peace of mind when children are discharged and dispels common fears that the information they provide will make their children ineligible for admission.

Trudy’s colleagues appreciated how she led these changes: with empathy, compassion and a strong commitment to collaboration. She engaged numerous staff members across disciplines to test the new process and gather feedback. Collaboration extends throughout all her work, where she has earned a reputation for inspiring and energizing her colleagues to improve quality of care. Her passion for doing what is best for her patients and her enthusiasm for improvement are contagious.

The risk management tool and its accompanying processes have made a tremendous difference in the care and safety of patients. The care improvement effort illustrates Trudy’s ability to lead and inspire change. Trudy’s innovative thinking and genuine care for her patients have transformed how mental health care is delivered at BC Children’s Hospital. Her inclusion of caregivers and families, creative problem-solving and ability to foster a collaborative work environment show her dedication to quality improvement and establish her as a true Quality Culture Trailblazer.