Among the leading issues in healthcare, patient experience is essential for the reputation and respect hospitals receive today. With its newest committee in formation, Unity Health — White County Medical Center is proud to announce the creation of a Patient and Family Advisory Council. Scheduled to begin meeting at the end of this year, the council will provide a platform for patients, families, community members, and hospital associates to share their input and expertise to improve the patient experience.
Associate Vice Presidents of Nursing and Surgical Services, Peggy Turner, R.N., and Tisa Carlisle, will serve as co-chairs of the council. Turner and Carlisle were fundamental in spearheading the efforts, under the direction of Unity Health leaders and the recommendations of the Beryl Institute. Unity Health began working with the Beryl Institute in 2015 to improve the patient experience and the Patient and Family Advisory Council was their top suggestion to be adopted.
Turner believes the council "is a way for people from the outside who use our facility to have a voice in the patient experience." Projects will be presented to the committee to reach a decision on a number of topics relevant to the healthcare community. Upcoming projects include choosing new furniture for waiting areas, recliners for patient rooms, and whether or not to have chimes played each time a baby is born during daily business hours. Projects will be stamped with the council's seal of approval, which will be visible throughout the campus, giving members the opportunity to "leave a legacy," from all of their efforts, Turner said.
An application and interview process will be available to those interested in serving on the council. After filling out an application and interviewing with Turner and Carlisle, members will be selected to serve a combination of one, two, or three-year terms, to ensure frequent rotation of members. Candidates selected will fulfill orientation and training similar to hospital associate and volunteer requirements. Those who are not selected for the council may still be able to participate in projects through virtual advisory boards when needed. Council meetings will be held once a month after business hours, including a meal and two hours of discussion.
"For me, the Patient and Family Advisory Council is about the community providing us input and guidance for the way we care for patients throughout the patient care experience," Carlisle said. "We are here to serve our community and who better to guide us through the patient experience process than those we provide care."
Turner said her hopes for the future of the council are to allow patients the best care possible from start to finish. "We want to improve the patient experience from the parking lot to discharge," Turner said. "Every patient has a story, and we want to hear their story and how that can improve everyone's experience here."
The council will seek to serve patients through improving the services, processes, culture, and atmosphere of Unity Health. To apply to become a council member, please contact 501.278.3229, email email@example.com, or visit www.unity-health.org/pfac.