July 15, 2015

Saint Anne's Hospital's Patient and Family Advisory Council invites patients and families to become a voice in patient care experience

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

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 providing the health care team with constructive advice and feedback to improve patients’ experiences.

What is a Patient and Family Advisory Council?

Patients and Family Advisory Councils, or PFACs, have been required of hospitals by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health since 2010. They 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 patients and/or family members, Saint Anne’s PFAC presently consists of 12 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 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, Saint Anne’s director of Professional Practice, Research and Development and facilitator for the hospital’s 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 have 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 instrumental in supporting a culture of patient-family centered health care and improving communication and patient satisfaction.

“We have long known that patients and families are important partners in our ability to deliver quality care at Saint Anne's Hospital,” says Finn. “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.”

Would you like to become a Saint Anne’s Hospital patient advisor?

If you have been a patient, or the family member of a patient, of Saint Anne’s Hospital or its satellite services and would like to lend your voice to improving patient care, Saint Anne’s PFAC encourages you to consider becoming a patient advisor.

Participants must be current or former Saint Anne’s Hospital patients, or members of a patient’s family. They do not need any special qualifications and will receive any training that may be needed.

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

About Saint Anne’s Hospital

Saint Anne’s Hospital is a community hospital with comprehensive inpatient, outpatient, and emergency care services, serving adults and children from southeastern Massachusetts and nearby Rhode Island at its main campus in Fall River and its community satellites. Founded in 1906 by the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation, Saint Anne's Hospital is a member of Steward Health Care System LLC, the largest community-based accountable care organization in New England. Saint Anne’s has been recognized time and again for quality, safety and service by such organizations as The Joint Commission, The Leapfrog Group, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.