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Dennis McCann

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Q & A with Dennis McCann, Patient Partner, BC Renal

Earlier this fall, we had a phone call with long-time BC Renal patient partner Dennis McCann to learn more about him and his volunteer work with BC Renal over the past several years as well as his thoughts on being a patient partner. The following highlights our conversation.

Q: You’ve been a patient partner with BC Renal since 2012. We’re very grateful for your dedication to BC Renal and your help in shaping kidney care and research in BC and beyond. What roles have you filled with BC Renal since you started as a patient partner?

I've been a member of/participant in the following, in addition to other one-time initiatives:

  • BC Renal Palliative Care Committee and the Palliative Care Quality Metrics Working Group
  • BC Renal Patient & Family Engagement Framework Working Group, including being the first patient co-chair
  • Evaluation Project Advisory Group
  • Dialysis Resources Optimization Project Team focused on pandemic planning
  • "What Matters to You?" Action-Planning Workshop focused on patient goal-setting
  • Speaker at patient partner orientations

I've also taken on a number of patient partner roles with The Kidney Foundation of Canada - BC & Yukon Branch and the Can-SOLVE CKD Network that focuses on patient-oriented kidney research across Canada. I was a board member of The Kidney Foundation for six years and the executive director at the time asked me if I would be interested in the BC Renal Palliative Care Committee. That's how I got started with it.

Q: What role that you've had with BC Renal stands out as making a difference in how kidney care is done in BC?

It was the Patient and Family Engagement Framework because it got me thinking about, how do I get more patients involved?

Q: Why did you choose to stay involved with BC Renal for so many years?

Well, there was always a new committee or framework, and mostly it was to forge a path for other patients to get involved. I was on the Palliative Care Committee for eight years, some of which we didn't have another patient partner other than me. 

Q: What are your hopes for current and future patient partners and their involvement with BC Renal?

For them to continue moving forward and to especially have the ongoing interest in continuing for a fair length of time on an individual basis. Growing that interest word-of-mouth, patient to patient to patient. There are opportunities there. That's my hope, that it continues growing, growing externally with new patient partners and moving forward internally with existing ones.

Q: For you, what is the value or importance of patient partners being involved in shaping kidney care?

Each kidney patient is different. Each looks at their kidney care from an individual perspective – and I think diversity is needed. I consider myself as a high-profile and a highly successful kidney patient. I didn't have any of the challenges such as economic, employment, family, etc. Others are just not that way and I think their stories need to be told and that they can tell them themselves. 

Q: What are some of the things you enjoy doing when you're not volunteering as a patient partner?

When it was available, I used to volunteer at Bard on the Beach during the summer. I would go to VSO (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) concerts and see the occasional play at Studio 58. I like to read and I'm working on getting rid of stuff I won't have time for as I get older.

A huge thank you to Dennis for all his contributions to BC Renal over the years and for sharing his experiences and thoughts with us for this profile!




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