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Patient partners changing health care for the better: Roxanne Chmelyk


A woman with short hair is outside on a sunny day, smiling into the camera.
Patient partner Roxanne Chmelyk is a fixture in Fort St. John.

Patient partners play a crucial role in today’s health care, taking part in projects led by health authorities and health organizations that seek to include their perspectives. 

We all have unique experiences interacting with the health care system and can contribute to important conversations about care. Patient partners apply their real-life experience to help improve the overall quality and practical application of care that people receive.  

Over the past 25 years, Roxanne has been a recreational therapist, a founding patient partner, and has balanced that with a second career in interior design. Since her retirement, she spends time volunteering at all four long-term care facilities in Fort St. John. She’s always had a passion for caring, with the loss of her two sons and spouse also having a tremendous impact on her desire to help others. 

Over the years, Roxanne has been involved with many programs and activities focused on improving the quality of life for seniors. Some of these include:

  • Developing the “Understanding my stay” whiteboard to help patients, family members, and health care providers provide efficiency in communication and family-centred care.
  • Developing “Let’s get Zooming,” which builds skills for seniors to make virtual appointments and implementing virtual video conferencing for seniors to help them stay connected with family and friends.
  • Organizing BBQs, games, jamborees, and other activities.
  • Coordinating the “Reach Out” program. 
  • Fundraising to support Meals on Wheels and light housekeeping to the low-income seniors in this area.
  • Fundraising to supply pastoral care to Peace Villa.  
  • Recruitment of long-term care volunteers. 
  • Advocating for “What matters to you?”
  • Assisting in the development of the Community Health Guide.

Many of these projects stem from her firm belief behind the need for transparency and communication. 

Despite all the work she has been a part of as a patient partner, she believes more work is needed to improve the process, completion, and implementation of initiatives in health care. 

“I will always strive for quality, transparency, communication, and patients’ rights,” says Roxanne. “With [a] lack of communication comes the loss of quality care and the loss of life.”  

One of Roxanne’s greatest passions is recreation, which she continues to apply to improve the quality of life for seniors in her community.  

“It is one of the most important programs. If your life isn’t stimulating and you’re not active, you are dying emotionally and physically. My goal is to keep them happy and vibrant.” 

In recognition of her contribution to her community over the years, Roxanne received the 2020 Fort St. John Life Time Achievement Award

Learn more about how you can improve health care in your community.