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Patient and Family Advisory Council: Building partnerships

How Do you Improve the Quality, Safety, and Delivery of Care?

At Christian Health (CHCC), the answer focuses on building partnerships between the staff, and those we serve and their families through Patient- and Family Centered Care (PFCC). PFCC is a philosophy focusing on treating patients, residents, clients, consumers – and their family members – as partners on the care team. PFCC is about responding to individual needs in all that we do, providing the ability to make choices about care and daily activities, and understanding perceptions of care – what is important, how well we deliver care, and, more important, how can we analyze and change care practices to improve outcomes. PFCC involves four components: respect and dignity, information sharing, participation in care and decision-making, and collaboration in the delivery of care and on policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation.

“PFCC is not unique to Christian Health. It’s in practice in health-care facilities throughout the country,” says Cathy Pilone, MSN, RN, NEABC, Service Excellence/ Patient-resident Experience Director. “But what is unique here are our residents, patients, clients, and consumers, as well as their family members and neighbors. We care about their participation in the care we provide, about the information we share together, and the choices made for their well-being. This has been our practice since we were founded in 1911.”

A crucial element to the success of PFCC is to truly hear the voices of those entrusted to our care and their families. To this end, CHCC formed a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). Each CHCC program and residence is represented on the council. The PFAC also includes key staff.

board members “Members of our Patient and Family Advisory Council provide important input,” says Maureen Braen, CDP, CPXP, Patient Experience/Person- and Family-centered Care Representative. “Their experience has value, and we are enormously grateful for their participation, as well as others whose input helps to create an approach to health
care that shapes policies, programs, facility design, and staff day-to-day interactions.”

PFAC members partner with CHCC to improve care by sharing their stories, providing feedback, participating in discussion groups, reviewing or helping create educational or informational materials, and working on short-term projects.

“As a PFAC member, I hope to help facilitate better understanding, cooperation, and respectful interactions among patients, their families, and the staff,” says Patricia Schwartz, whose husband was a Ramapo Ridge Behavioral Health patient.

PFAC members are candid. They offer suggestions and potential solutions to help improve care. They share their perspectives and personal experiences – both positive and negative – as a patient or family member, and present ideas about how things could have been done differently. They listen carefully, respect one another’s viewpoint, and maintain confidentiality. The end result is effective PFCC.

“From the bedside to the board room, PFCC is about partnering to design policies, programs, and care plans for the best possible outcomes for patients and their families,”Ms. Pilone says. “Ultimately, PFCC at Christian Health will lead to better health
outcomes, wiser allocation of resources, and greater patient and family experience and satisfaction.”