Patient and Family Advisory Councils: Increasing Community Engagement to Improve Care

Patient and Family Advisory Councils are rapidly becoming a standard across hospitals nation wide. The patient’s voice is now stronger than ever due to the fact  re-reimbursement and loyalty has become more and more tied to their personal experience within the healthcare system.  Patient and family advisory councils (PFAC) are one way hospitals are reaching out to partner with the people they serve in order to improve.

A patient and family advisory council provides a forum for patients and families to partner with members of the healthcare team in order to offer insight and perspective on what it takes to create an exceptional patient experience. Through the council, patients and families are given the opportunity to serve on other hospital committees, eventually becoming completely integrated into the fabric of the organization.

Patients and families who are a part of a PFAC ensure that the consumer perspective and point of view is heard and valued alongside clinicians’ and administrators’. They work with the entire healthcare team to bring to light the nuances of what creates an exceptional experience.

There are many benefits to incorporating a PFAC into your organization:

  • Increased listening, understanding and cooperation between the community and the healthcare team.
  • Efficient planning of new projects to ensure consumer needs and priorities are met from the start.
  • A forum for cost-effective and innovative solutions to challenges.
  • A forum to test ideas before implementation.
  • A link between the organization and the community it serves.
  • Promotes respectful and effective partnerships between patients, families, and the healthcare team.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be diving in to what it takes to begin a patient and family advisory council, explore more of the benefits, talk about the barriers as well as who are good candidates for membership. We’ll also discuss readiness and resources, both financial and staffing, that you’ll need in order to get started. Stay tuned!

 

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