Patient and family advisory council highly valued; looking for additional community members
Always striving for excellence in health care, the leadership, physicians and staff at Spectrum Health United Hospital realized that one pair of eyes was still missing for ongoing growth and success —the eyes of the patient. Physicians and staff are skilled at planning how care should be provided, but the patient and the patient’s family can provide a unique perspective. Based on this recognition, the Spectrum Health United Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council was established in 2010.
The Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) involves patients and families in partnership with Spectrum Health United Hospital health care leaders, physicians and staff, to participate in shaping policy, program development and decision-making. The Patient and Family Advisory Council acts as a consultant and resource for Spectrum Health United Hospital.
Council members share insights that help leadership see through the eyes of patients and families, often leading to changes that directly improve the patient and family experience. With direct access to decision makers at Spectrum Health United Hospital, the PFAC has made an impact on the culture of the organization and the issues that affect the patient experience.
The United PFAC Members main areas of focus have been around the importance of family presence, the outpatient experience, updating the new patient handbook and transition of care. Currently, they are working on a Pediatric storybook for caregivers to read to a child experiencing the healthcare system firsthand with the goal of reducing fear and increasing communication.
Anita Neal, current Spectrum Health United Hospital PFAC member and mother to three young children, views this group as essential to for patients and the Hospital alike. “This is the facility and personnel that I go to for care for myself and my family. It’s important to know that they are doing everything on their end to make my hospital experiences positive and that they are giving the best care possible.”
Current members of PFAC range in gender, age and stage in life. The diversity of the group helps contribute to well-rounded discussions and goals that focus on serving the entire population.
Becoming part of PFAC does require commitment and the ability to work with teams to develop and work toward accomplishing annual goals. Once per month, the PFAC team meets to discuss current topics and projects. These meetings typically last an hour. Additionally, PFAC members often have tasks to accomplish in-between these sessions, such as reviewing hospital policies, marketing materials, patient handbooks and working in small groups to complete additional projects.
To serve on the PFAC team, individuals must be a current or former Spectrum Health United Hospital patient, or be the family member of a present or former patient. “There truly are no other qualifications to become part of PFAC—simply the willingness to share thoughts and ideas with the ultimate goal of improving Spectrum Health United Hospital as an entity. We believe our most valuable asset in becoming a patient-focused facility is actual feedback and ideas from those who use our services,” said Stephanie Wilcox, Patient Relations Coordinator at Spectrum Health United Hospital.
Current PFAC members hope that more patients will choose to become involved with this group and take an active role with their health care. “It is important that people know PFAC exists and that United Hospital is working toward improving the quality of their services and also that they want and value the input of those they serve, “ said Anita Neal. “The relationship between the patients and hospital is key to bettering our community.”
Spectrum Health United Hospital is currently looking to add additional individuals to PFAC. If you have interest in participating, please contact Stephanie Wilcox at 616-225-6414.
About Spectrum Health United Hospital
Spectrum Health United Hospital, located in Greenville, Michigan, is committed to providing excellent personal care and service through state-of-the-art technology and qualified, caring professionals. Spectrum Health United Hospital provides local access to quality care through the region’s largest health care system. spectrumhealth.org/united.