Published on Wed, 11/27/2019 by Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety

Dr.John Wade Patient Safety Initiatives Grant, Patient Safety Champion Award recipients share patient safety success at MIPS AGM

WINNIPEG, MB --/COMMUNITYWIRE/-- MIPS is proud to announce two successful Dr. John Wade Patient Safety Initiatives Grant-supported projects—one to prevent medication harm and another to study the healing potential of an apology when something goes wrong in the health care system—and two Patient Safety Champion Award recipients.

The Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety supports health care organizations and providers to improve patient safety and empowers patients and families to be engaged with their health care team.

Firstly, Dr. Elizabeth Rhynold and the Falls Prevention and Management Steering Committee are implementing a strategy to improve medication safety for older adults in the Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) region. The PMH region has the highest rate of benzodiazepine prescribing for adults 75 years of age and older.  This comes with significant risks for patient harm due to falls and accidents.

“With the Dr. John Wade Grant, we are ensuring that patients and health care practitioners have the tools to safely deprescribe sedatives including benzodiazepines.” said Dr. Rhynold.

The Dr. John Wade funds have been used to educate the people who take these medications about the risks and to introduce them to sleep and anxiety management alternatives and gradual tapering of medications. It’s an approach of shared decision-making between health care providers and patients that has already been proven to work.

“Dr. Rhynold and her team have developed and implemented a patient-centred deprescribing program in PMH that empowers older adults to better manage their medications and prevent falls and accidents,” said Laurie Thompson, Executive Director of MIPS. “We’re proud to be a part of this community-focused patient safety initiative.”

At the same time, Dr. Karine Levasseur, Associate Professor in the University of Manitoba Department of Political Studies and Dr. Fiona MacDonald of the University of the Fraser Valley are looking at the impact of apology legislation and the role it plays when something goes wrong in the health care system.

“While apology legislation protects medical professionals from any legal consequences of apologizing to patients when a patient safety incident occurs, we know very little about the impacts of medical apologies,” said Dr. Levasseur. “The Dr. Wade Grant has helped us to discover that there are significant benefits to patients and professionals when a sincere and timely apology is made in the wake of an error. We also now know that there is room for improvement in terms of the quality of apologies and approaches to compensation for patients whose lives will never be the same.”

“MIPS promoted, and continues to support, The Apology Act in Manitoba,” said Thompson. “The study of its impact is an essential part of understanding not only the healing potential of an empathetic and genuine apology, but also the limitations because there is some things an apology cannot fix.”

Two Patient Safety Champions were also honoured at the MIPS 15th anniversary AGM, Sarah Painter, Flight Nurse, Stars Air Ambulance, and Heather Purvis and Barbara Kitzen, Patient Representatives for CancerCare Manitoba.

Painter is recognized for her active participation in, and commitment to, patient safety including her approach to collaborative care, team work and patient engagement. She promotes a learning culture for her team members and patients by challenging the status quo and encouraging them to speak up about patient safety. Her enthusiasm for patient safety is reflected in her development of a patient safety video and her continued patient safety education.  She is a true patient safety champion!

Purvis and Kitzen are honoured for their exceptional service to CancerCare patients. They are dedicated to quality assurance and improvement that is championed in a respectful, compassionate and timely manner. Purvis and Kitzen tirelessly advocate for their patients while they support them in navigating a complex health care system during difficult diagnosis and treatment.

“This year’s recipients of the Patient Safety Champion Award show a tireless commitment to the health and safety of their patients,” said Thompson. “We are honoured to recognize their efforts not only in caring for their patients, but also their dedication to transforming the health care system.”

The Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety (MIPS) is an independent non-profit organization created in 2004 in response to recommendations made by the Manitoba Patient Safety Steering Committee. MIPS is committed to supporting health care organizations and providers to improve patient safety and to empowering patients and families to be engaged with their health care team.

For high resolution photos of the award winners, or more information on the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety, visit our website at

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For more information:

Backgrounder: Dr. John Wade Patient Safety Initiatives Grant Outcomes 2019; Patient Safety Champion Awards 2019


Media Contact:

Laurie Thompson
Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety



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