By October of this year, every Massachusetts hospital will have a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) in place. Massachusetts is the only state which mandates these groups.
PFACs are intended to facilitate patient and family participation in “hospital care and decision-making, information sharing, and policy and program development,” according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In other words, the councils are intended to ensure the patient and family voice gets heard by the hospital’s top brass.
Some of the issues that PFACs deal with include:
- Expanding visiting hours
- Improving educational materials for families and patients
- Redesigning forms like discharge medication forms
- Upgrading signage
- Providing input about renovation and new building projects
The Kenneth B. Schwartz Center did a similar pilot project several years ago called
The Patient Voice for Compassionate Care: Schwartz Center Dialogues. The program brought patients and families together with staff from three outpatient practices for a series of facilitated conversations. Each practice has made changes – or is in the process of making changes – based on the dialogues. These changes include providing “customer service training” for caregivers at one practice and creating a support group for diabetics at another. The pilot was very time- and labor-intensive, so we are trying to figure out how to replicate the program in a more viable way.
Do you think these types of patient advisory initiatives are a good idea? Or are they just good PR?