What is patient-centered care? It sounds simple enough – an approach by which the patient is always at the center of their care. True patient-centered care, however, is a deeply focused endeavor. It’s one of CMC’s core values and, to be successful, requires caregivers to constantly check in and assess whether the patient’s input and welfare is at the core of their care plan.
At CMC, the Patient and Family Advisory Council, or PFAC, helps to keep us focused on patient-centered care. The PFAC is made up of Patient Family Advisors (PFAs) and key hospital staff. Patient Family Advisors are former patients, or their family members, who help bring the voice of the patient to important discussions about how CMC cares for its patients.
The PFAC has been involved in a number of recent initiatives in the CMC system, including our adoption of AIDET, a communication tool that teaches all caregivers to acknowledge, introduce, (give) duration, explain, and thank the patient every time.
“We all agreed that staff come to work wanting to make a difference and be compassionate, but weren’t being consistent in how we talk to patients,” says Karen McLaughlin, CMC Patient Experience Specialist. “The feedback from the PFAC helped us realize that we weren’t being consistent and so we turned to AIDET, which has helped improve communication with our patients.”
The work of PFAC has also led to hourly rounding by nursing staff and leadership, which McLaughlin says is something that patients expect. PFAC also developed an innovative program called the Voice of the Patient, which was recently honored by the New Hampshire Foundation for Healthy Communities with the 2016 Noah Lord Award for Patient & Family Engagement. As part of this program, PFAs round on patients to find out whether they’re satisfied with their care and if there are areas where CMC can improve before the patient leaves the hospital.
“Typically, we rely on surveys to get patient feedback after they’ve left the hospital which is really rearview mirror,” says McLaughlin. “We’ve missed our opportunity to address concerns, say thank you, provide service recovery, reward and recognize our staff for meeting or exceeding patient expectations. By engaging the patient at the bedside we can address all of those points while they’re still here and empower patients to engage in their own care.”
The Patient and Family Advisory Council is currently recruiting for PFAs. If you are interested, or would like to learn more about helping to promote patient-centered care at CMC, please contact Patient Experience Specialist Karen McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603.663.6438.