PFACs Spreading Across the Country - Massachusetts Highlighted
USA Today and Kaiser Health News published an article about the spread of Patient and Family Advisory Councils across the US and their deepening involvement in improving care and patient and family experiences. Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital and MGH are among those highlighted with examples of how they engage patients and families in their work. Massachusetts is the first and only state to mandate PFACs in all acute-care and rehabilitation hospitals. More than 90 PFACs have been established across the Commonwealth, and 2015 marks five years since all PFACs were required to be in place.
HCFA and its Massachusetts PFAC Advisory Board are celebrating this five year mark, and looking to the future, with this year’s 3rd Annual PFAC Conference, taking place May 12 at the College of the Holy Cross. More than 200 PFAC members and others will gather to share best practices, hear from inspiring speakers, and network.
The USA Today article describes several efforts to engage patients and families. In addition to those efforts mentioned in the article, there are PFACs in Massachusetts that have initiated projects and partnered with their host institutions to make a true difference in care within the hospital and in the community. From working to improve behavioral health care in the E.R. to spearheading a community campaign promoting the use of medication cards to educating the community about palliative care and hospice care, the patient and family members of PFACs bring their unique perspectives and experiences to inform and advance life-changing initiatives. As the article touches on, strong support from hospital leadership and a culture that welcomes patient and family involvement are vital to ensuring the PFACs feel empowered to speak up and make change.
HCFA and the PFAC Advisory Board are working to advance this work through the annual conference and in many other ways. All PFACs are required to write annual reports highlighting their efforts during the previous year. HCFA and the Advisory Board collect all of those reports, which can be found on the HCFA website. If you want to learn more about a particular PFAC’s work, just click on the name of the hospital. Soon, HCFA will release its PFAC summary report, giving an overview of the work that is taking place across the Commonwealth.