Frequently Asked Questions
We believe that the best way to care for our patients is to listen and make patients and their families’ part of the healthcare team. Families and patients can help our professionals improve the way we provide care for our patients.
- What is a patient and family advisory council (pFAC)?
At St. Mary’s the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) partners patients and families with members of our administration and healthcare team to provide guidance on how to improve patient and family experiences. As part of this PFAC process, patients and families serve on a council to ensures that the consumer’s point of view, perspective and experience are not only heard, but also integrated into the service and quality improvements to ensure high-quality, customer-centered care. Through their perspectives, we ask for input on issues that impact care, ensuring that the next patient of family members experience is better and ultimately the best.
- How do you run the PATIENT AND Family Advisory Council (pFAC)?
It’s a process. We try things, see how they work and adjust as necessary. We also ask for feedback from our council members as well as from staff who seek the council’s feedback. The information we receive helps us refine and improve.
- What do you do at meetings?
A typical meeting starts with one facilitator (patient coordinator on staff) who welcomes the members, and then a (pre-selected) member shares a brief story about themselves and explains why they are on the council (“Why I Am Here”). We typically work on two to three topics per meeting depending on the breadth and depth of the topics. A staff person or team will attend the meeting, give a brief background, then ask specific questions to the council. They listen while the council breaks down into small groups to brainstorm answers. Everyone reports back their ideas. The end of the meeting is dedicated to reports such as updates on previous topics and hospital news.
- What are the job duties of council members?
Council members attend meetings regularly and provide feedback not only from their personal experience but for all families from all backgrounds and levels of exposure to the hospital.
- How frequently do you meet?
We meet monthly, except during July, August and December.
- When are meetings?
- The council will meet six times during the year. Each meeting will follow formal procedures and have set agendas.
- Duration of the membership as a council member volunteer will be on average from one to two years.
- Do you provide food?
Yes. We provide snacks and beverages to our council members.
- Who facilitates council meetings?
The hospital has a staff member who chairs the FAC with a co-chair from a patient or family member. They plan the agendas, facilitate discussions and follow up after the meetings.
- How do the co-chairs set agendas?
The chair facilitates the meetings and preps all staff who consults the council for feedback. We encourage two-way discussion between the staff and council. We help the staff formulate questions that the council can address during the meetings so that the staff members can walk away with helpful information. We focus on solutions; not just issues. Facilitators often formulate agendas at the last minute. Agendas consist of topics that facilitators bring to the council and topics that staff bring to the facilitators.
- Why does the council include employees?
It’s very important to us that the council be comprised mostly of patients and families; however, since family-centered care entails partnering with healthcare providers, we ask strategically selected staff to join the council as well. They provide essential information about how the hospital works as we brainstorm solutions to problems. They bring discussion topics to the group as well.
- Who speaks at meetings?
We ask our staff to come to meetings with questions for council members, not presentations. The goal is to facilitate a two-way discussion. Staff members may bring a few slides with essential background information and their questions. Sometimes the facilitators will lead the discussion themselves.
- Why should i volunteer?
We respond to the topics brought to us by staff, we ask our family advisers what issues they want to focus on and we try to build bridges to facilitate change. Sometimes changes take a long time to implement, but we try to focus on everything that is especially important to patients and families. This opportunity is a path to help improve the care provided in our community and impact change at St. Mary’s.