Saint Anne's Hospital's Patient and Family Advisory Council invites patients and family to become a voice in hospital decisions

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

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New members are welcome to join

Fall River, MA - If you or a family member have ideas to improve the health care experience at Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, you’re invited to become a member of the hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC).

The council is a forum that gives a voice to patients and family members who want to be included in the hospital’s decisions and plans that affect them. It includes people in the community who are interested in coming together to provide the health care team with constructive advice and feedback to improve patients’ experiences.

What is a Patient and Family Advisory Council?
Required of hospitals by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health since 2010, PFACs are based on the core concepts of dignity and respect, information sharing, participation, and collaboration so that patients, families and providers can develop and enhance mutually beneficial partnerships. Patient and family members may advise the hospital on issues such as patient and provider relationships, research, quality improvement, and patient education on safety and quality.

At least 50 percent of a PFAC’s members must be current or former patients or family members and representative of the community served.

Co-chaired by two patient/family members, Saint Anne’s PFAC presently consists of eleven current or former patients or family members who represent the community, plus five representatives from the hospital. Community members are a diverse group of men and women who are former patients, or children or spouses of patients. Many of their experiences have inspired them to provide positive and constructive feedback and have a voice in fostering communication between patients and families and caregivers.

What do PFAC members discuss?
Since its inception in 2010, Saint Anne’s PFAC patient advisors have discussed and implemented a wide variety of suggestions that positively impact patient care.

Ranging from financial matters to outreach to families, many recommendations have resulted in concrete improvements. Some of these have included topics as diverse as reviewing patient satisfaction and quality reporting data and suggestions for improvement; ideas about reducing noise in patient care areas; acting as “secret shoppers” to determine best practices and opportunities for improvement; and making suggestions on emergency department innovations and communication with hospitalists.

What are the benefits of a PFAC to patients, families and hospitals?
The benefits of a Patient and Family Advisory Council to patients and families, as well as the hospital, are numerous, says Kathy Finn, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, who is Saint Anne’s director of professional practice, research and development and also facilitator for the PFAC.

“By giving feedback about their own hospital experiences with nurses, doctors and other hospital staff, patient advisors can make valuable recommendations to improve policies and care practices,” she said.

“In fact, suggestions made by our patient advisors factored into some of our recent facility improvements, such as private rooms throughout the hospital, and our national awards for quality care and patient safety.”

Ultimately, says Finn, the PFAC is designed to be instrumental in supporting a culture of patient-family centered care and improving communication and patient satisfaction.

“We have long known that patients and families play an important role in helping Saint Anne's Hospital. By becoming more aware of their experiences and perspectives, we can more fully understand our patients’ concerns. This not only helps us develop relevant programs, but more importantly, strengthens community relations.”

How to become a Saint Anne’s Hospital patient advisor
Saint Anne’s PFAC is looking to include an even greater voice by patients and families, so new patient advisors are encouraged. Participants may be current or former Saint Anne’s Hospital patients, or members of a patient’s family. Advisors do not need any special qualifications and will receive any training that may be needed.

The group meets six times a year at the hospital from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Lunch is served.  See the 2014 calendar of meetings.

To express an interest in joining or learning more about Saint Anne’s Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council, contact Kathy Finn at 508-674-5600, ext. 2493, or e-mail

More information, including the council’s 2013 annual report, is available here.

To express an interest in joining or learning more about Saint Anne’s Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council:

Contact Kathy Finn at 508-674-5600, ext. 2493, or e-mail

See our calendar of meetings in 2014.


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