MGH Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) recently hosted an event celebrating the voices of patients and families through storytelling – showcasing powerful care journeys, strength found in a patient/provider relationship and the roles of trust and partnership. The Nov. 14, 2017 event highlighted the PFACs’ contributions to the hospital’s continuous efforts to improve the care experience.

“Each and every day we are guided by the needs of our patients and families,” said Inga Lennes, MD, senior vice president of Service Excellence and Performance Improvement. “Our PFAC members have amazing stories which inform us on every level about how best to achieve our mission.”

The event featured two panels – facilitated by Annie Brewster, MD, Health Story Collaborative founder and executive director. During the first panel, Tarrah Zedower, a member of the PediatricOncology FAC, and Howard Weinstein, MD, chief of Pediatric Oncology, shared the special elements of a strong relationship between provider, parent and patient. The second panel was made up of members from the MGH’s six additional PFACs – General PFAC, Ambulatory Practice of the Future Care Alliance, MGHfC FAC, Heart and Vascular Center PFAC, Cancer Center PFAC and Cystic Fibrosis PFAC.

“We’re going to need your voices in the years ahead,” said Debbie Burke, RN, DNP, MBA, now senior vice president for Patient Care and chief nurse, who has been a member of the Cancer Center PFAC and MGHfC FAC for several years. “You’re going to remind us of what is most important, which is you and your families.”

Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP, FAAN, now chief nurse emerita, thanked PFAC members for their ongoing commitment to helping advise and improve the care the hospital delivers and highlighted examples of how PFACs have helped to foster change in key strategic initiatives – design of new buildings and services, educational programs and guides and participation in MGH and Partners committees.

Matt Reid, a member of the General PFAC, shared his experience collaborating with hospital representatives. “When I was in a room with people who are running that department, they took me seriously, They listened to what I had to say in terms of representing myself as a person, as a patient and in representing other patients. It felt amazing to be able to have that voice, and I think that speaks volumes to the culture that has been created.” 

Read more articles from the 02/09/18 Hotline issue.