Local Champions recognized for providing compassionate patient care

Human Touch Award winners and their nominators
Friday, April 21, 2017

A diagnosis of cancer or chronic kidney disease is life-changing, with both physical and emotional implications, and the journey that lies ahead is often difficult. To assist patients during this time, healthcare professionals treat the physical symptoms of the disease and also the emotional ones. The emotional support provided by professionals and volunteers plays a significant role in a patient’s experience. 

On April 20, Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Renal Network (ORN) recognized eleven deserving Ontarians, who go above and beyond, with a Human Touch Award. The Human Touch Awards honour front-line renal and cancer healthcare professionals, providers and volunteers who provide exemplary and compassionate care in Ontario.

Of the ten awards, three were given to individuals in the South West region, honouring their outstanding service, making a difference in the lives of patients in London and throughout the region.  

Pictured above, from left, Dr. Michael Lock, HTA Winner, Kim Farrow, (Nominator for Nancy Woodcock), Nancy Woodcock, HTA Winner Deb Bezaire, Lisa Hawthornthwaite (Nominator for Deb Bezaire), and Janice McCallum South West Regional Renal Program Director. Absent from the photo is Dr. Barbara Fisher (nominator for Dr. Lock).

Dr. Michael Lock, Radiation Oncologist, London Health Sciences Centre: When it comes to patient care, Dr. Michael Lock has a reputation for going above and beyond. He is dedicated to ensuring each patient receives the best possible care and support – even if that means he is the last person in the clinic each night. Dr. Lock is not only a leader in person-centred care but a firm advocate of improving treatment by continuing to seek new evidence and innovations. He has championed various programs and initiatives to improve the patient’s care, quality of life, and overall experience, and was even one of the first doctors in Canada to treat a liver patient with a new technique called personalized

radiobiological guidance. Dr. Lock is also an active proponent of education in radiation oncology. He has personally obtained funding for a fellowship program as well as additional residency positions at the centre and has supported the development of new curriculum and lectures. He has a true passion for giving back, which is evident in his life outside of the clinic where he is active in various committees and charitable activities. Aside from delivering exceptional care, Dr. Lock is a source of positivity in the lives of his patients and colleagues, bringing kindness, warmth and sincerity to the centre each and every day.

Deborah Bezaire, Renal Program Manager, London Health Sciences Centre: Deborah Bezaire understands the importance of partnership, particularly when it comes to delivering compassionate person-centred care. As Manager of the Renal Program at the London Health Sciences Centre, Deborah demonstrates leadership and compassionate care on a daily basis to improve the patient and family experience. When the Renal Patient and Family Advisory Council was created at her centre, she took an active role to better understand what compassionate person-centred care really means to herself, her team, and to her patients and their families. She takes the time to listen to patients and families to truly understand their stories and seeks feedback from both patients and staff to improve care and processes. Deborah is a champion for person-centred care, promoting this in her everyday approach to managing the renal program, and proving to be instrumental in improving the quality of life of her patients. She has been a true partner to renal patients and has created trusted partnerships with patient advisors.

Nancy Woodcock, Renal Dietitian, London Health Sciences Centre: Upon graduating from Brescia College with a degree in Food and Nutrition, Nancy Woodcock was hired by London Health Sciences Centre as a clinical dietitian. Thirty-three years later, Nancy is still there – now in a role within the renal department working with hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and advanced stage kidney disease patients.

Nancy has developed a reputation as a dedicated and committed team member to both patients and staff. She views patients and their family members as individuals first, treating them with the utmost respect while engaging them in their care. Nancy will do whatever it takes to make sure patient care is the first priority, even if that means she has to hone in on her creativity and think outside the box to achieve the best results for her patients. Nancy’s dedication to patient care is inspiring to her colleagues as she has taken on a number of roles outside of her core responsibilities. This includes active participation in numerous committees, initiatives, and research projects – all with the goal of improving the quality of care for patients. Nancy has not only proven to be an expert in her field, but is also a reliable and trusted colleague, and a genuine advocate for patient-centred care who demonstrates compassion and empathy on a daily basis.

“Healthcare professionals and volunteers play essential roles in Ontario’s cancer and kidney care systems,” says Michael Sherar, President and CEO of Cancer Care Ontario. “It is important to recognize the individuals who go the extra mile to make a lasting impact in the lives of patients and their families. The celebration of their dedication and commitment helps promote efficient, safe, high-quality and compassionate care for all Ontarians.”

For more information on the Human Touch Awards, including high-resolution images and a complete listing of 2017 award recipients, visit www.cancercare.on.ca/humantouch or www.renalnetwork.on.ca/humantouch