ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA – Davis Medical Center values the input patients and their families have and in 2017, DMC formed the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) to incorporate what patients have to say about their healthcare, its delivery and the design. Currently, the group is seeking new members from the community and will be accepting applications through Oct. 19, 2018. Arvela J. Koerner BSN, RN, ACM, Patient Experience Coordinator at DMC said with healthcare moving toward patient- and family-centered care, the PFAC helps focus on improving the patient experience and quality of care at DMC.
“Our Patient and Family Advisory Council serves as the voice of our patients and other visitors to DMC,” Koerner said. “It provides us with valuable information including patient and family insight and perspectives.”
Koerner said today’s patients want to be engaged in decisions affecting their well-being and research shows that healthcare providers partnering with patients and their families achieve better clinical, quality and safety outcomes.
The benefit of utilizing a PFAC is two-fold: Patients and families benefit by having their opinions valued and heard, and through more engaged participation in designing improved care, DMC expands their capacity to develop relevant and responsive programs and services.
“Despite the committee’s newborn status, the PFAC has been involved in several activities such as the installation of white boards in each of the patient rooms and improvements in the Surgical Waiting Area,” Koerner said. “Members of the PFAC bring a different perspective to the table which is valuable to DMC’s future and the communities we serve.”
The volunteer committee consists of health care providers, former hospital patients, former patients’ family members and frontline staff. Elkins resident Rebecca “Becky” Whiteman said she has enjoyed serving on the PFAC during the past year.
“PFAC meetings provide information sharing regarding department policies and procedures,” Whiteman said. “This exchange provides all levels of hospital employees and community members the opportunity for shared knowledge and discussion to better serve the hospital, and in turn, improve patient experiences.”
Whiteman said being a member provides a wealth of opportunities to positively impact the future of DMC and the community. “I am honored to be a member of the PFAC,” she said. “I know they appreciate my opinions and I am able to see the results of the committee’s input.”
Valerie Bright, Coordinator of Volunteer Services, said she feels membership on the PFAC is beneficial to the community.
“Being a member of the PFAC is a way to make a positive impact on our community. It empowers patients and family members to help implement change that creates a culture of quality and trust in healthcare. It is an honor to be able to bring my perspective to the group and to share in meeting the needs of our community and what our patients value,” Bright said.
Koerner said members of the PFAC are selected by a defined process including completion of a written application and an interview. The time commitment includes at least two hours a month for the meeting.
“Our council is a very active, forward-thinking group that has been involved in several improvements benefiting our patients and family members,” Koerner said. “I anticipate more involvement in the upcoming year.”
Applications to serve the community as a PFAC member are available online at https://www.davishealthsystem.org/about-us/advisorycouncil. Additional information is available by contacting Koerner online at [email protected] or by calling 304-637-3773.