Having patients, their families and caregivers central in planning the course of treatment improves health outcomes, quality of care received and cost of care. In 2018, Adirondack Health created its Patient and Family Advisory Council to empower patients and families to take a more active role in improving the patient experience.
First, Adirondack developed the PFAC infrastructure, including job descriptions, ground rules, evaluations and more. Next, they recruited and interviewed potential advisors, asking department directors, social workers and case management staff to identify patients they thought would be interested in volunteering to serve on the council. Having a cross representation of volunteers from the primary service areas, service lines and age demographics was key to success. The team plans to start staggering meetings to include evening times to be more inclusive to a variety of schedules. Hospital staff are encouraged to consult the PFAC for patient input when they are tackling new initiatives or revisiting older procedures.
As a result of its PFAC, Adirondack Health enhanced its website with more color and graphics, improved promotion of quality ratings, expanded physician information (i.e., which insurance they accept, personal philosophy on healthcare, etc.) and streamlined its Patient and Family Guide.
For more information, contact Terry Lewis, patient advocate and PFAC facilitator, at (518) 897-2721 or firstname.lastname@example.org.