Beyond Quality and Safety: Patient and Family Advisory Councils Involved in Strategic Planning and Marketing

October 1, 2013

by Barbara S. Long, APR

Barbara S. Long, APRFor anyone involved in providing health care, having the roles reversed and becoming a patient or family member of a patient can be an eye-opening experience. Health care is not always a high-functioning, seamless system. In fact, at the bedside, you will experience cracks in the system that can make you feel angry, frustrated, and ignored. You also will experience moments of incredible support, love, and healing. So how does health care fill in the cracks and become a smooth series of “wow” caregiving experi­ences? Just ask – and listen.

Patient- and family-centered care movement

Twenty years ago, an idea began to percolate that health care should be designed around the patient and family. In 2004, the American Hospital Association and the Institute for Family-Centered Care developed a how-to resource guide for health care leaders to help them move through a 10-step process of becoming “patient- and family-centered.” One of the first steps was to establish Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs). These councils were envisioned to serve as committees to help shape hospital policies and prac­tices related to patient and provider relationships, quality improvement, or patient education and safety initiatives.

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