Patient-led Volunteer Advisory Council Promotes Patient Experience

August 29, 2019

PFAC Group
Pictured from left are Patrick Burch, Dana Etheridge, Paula Wright, Cynthia Powell, 
Evelyn Baskervill, Walton Gibbons, Nora Finch and Danielle Vick;
Not pictured: Jeff Thomas

Wilson Medical Center is one of a growing number of healthcare providers that is tapping into a “non-traditional” source to help improve the overall patient safety and experience at their facility.  In early 2017, hospital leadership decided to move forward with a volunteer program made up of community members who had experience at the medical center as either a patient or family member.  A Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) was created which also includes hospital departmental leaders and physicians as members. These councils are becoming an industry best practice for patient engagement (a way to involve patients in their own care) and is an important way for the hospital to hear the voice of the patient and family member.

The current Patient and Family Advisory Council at Wilson Medical Center is comprised of six community members, three medical center staff including the Chief Medical Officer, the Patient Safety/Experience Officer and a Hospital Pharmacy Specialist. Since its inception in early 2017, the council has held monthly meetings to identify areas where it can have a positive impact in helping hospital staff create and foster an environment of patient- and family-centered care.  This collaborative effort has included providing input to improve in-patient communication boards (“white boards”), recommendations to improve patient comfort options, patient meal services, and providing feedback regarding patient safety and experience surveys. Additionally, the council toured and provided feedback regarding renovations to the Women’s Pavilion, Cardiovascular Unit and the new Sleep Center. 

A major objective for the balance of 2019 for the Wilson Medical Center Patient and Family Advisory Council is to increase the number of community members from six to twelve. To be considered for membership, candidates must be recommended by hospital staff and have been a patient or a family member of a patient who has received care at Wilson Medical Center, and agree to serve a term of two years. An important objective of the council make-up is to be representative of our overall community in terms of age, gender and ethnicity. It is important to listen and hear the voices of all segments of our hospital community.

If you would like more information about the Patient and Family Advisory Council, please contact Nora Finch, Wilson Medical Center’s Patient Safety/Experience Officer at 252-399-8482 and leave your name and contact information.

Dana Etheridge is the Chair of Wilson Medical Center’s Patient and Family Advisory Council.