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Friday, November 13, 2009

Think Olive Garden: Innovative Patient/Family Advisory Councils

The CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center recently had the pleasure of touting a major national award for patient satisfaction won by their NICU (neonatal intensive care unit): the Family-Centered Care Award, by the Society for Critical Care Medicine. I hope to describe their advisory council's role in that in a future blog post. In an earlier post on the role of the Advisory Council for the adult ICU, Paul Levy described their use of Family Pagers:

Our Advisory Council pointed out the feeling that they had to stay in or near the ICU at all times, in case anything happened. We now provide pagers (think Olive Garden) to families that allow them to go to the coffee shop, cafeteria, and nearby shops with the confidence that we can page them if they are needed. These have received rave reviews from families, nurses, and doctors alike.

Massachusetts General Hospital has been using several patient/family councils. One helped develop a "pathway for cardiac services" that portrays the steps in a patient's treatment, so patients will know what will happen during their hospital stay. I hope to describe this in more detail in a future blog post.

At Cooley Dickinson, the annual report in 2009 on the PFAC told of another committee involving consumers that performed "a SNF [skilled nursing facility, i.e., nursing home] hand-off communication survey, which resulted in an immediate improvement in patient and post-acute provider relationships through the discharge process."


Advice to patient advocates: Tell your families and clients to get their care at hospitals like these that actively listen and heed the patient's voice.

Read another story about innovative patient/family advisory councils.

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