Patient and Family Advisor Program

The Patient and Family Advisor Program, within the Office of Patient Experience, is comprised of patient and family volunteers to serve as members of improvement teams. Our mission is to partner with patients and family members to transform The MetroHealth System by ensuring the patient's voice is heard. The MetroHealth System Patient and Family Advisor (PFA) program includes more than 60 patients and family members. Collectively, PFAs logged more than 400 volunteer hours in 2016.

“Our goal is to tap into the experience of former patients and their family members to understand how we can create positive transformation that focuses on patient-centered care,” said Sara Laskey, MD, Chief Experience Officer.

The success of MetroHealth’s PFA program has been recognized nationally by the Institute for Patient and Family Centered Care (IPFCC) and The Beryl Institute. PFAs serve on committees and work on projects covering a wide range of topics including improvements in safety, quality, processes and environmental design. PFAs have been involved in more than 70 committees, projects and speaking engagements in the past year.

Get more details about the Patient and Family Advisor Program.

If you are a patient or family member interested in becoming a Patient and Family Advisor, please contact [email protected]

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Patient Family Advisor CouncilThe Patient and Family Advisory Council - Using Personal Experiences to Improve Patient Experience

Every month, MetroHealth’s Patient and Family Advisory (PFA) Council meets to help identify the greatest concerns of patients and their family members.

The PFA Council, which includes patients, family members of patients and MetroHealth employees, provides feedback on current initiatives and processes, reviews instructional materials, and generates new ideas to improve the patient experience. MetroHealth’s Dr. Julie Sterbank, DO, chairs the PFA Council. “Hearing from patients and family members directly gives all of our staff a great perspective on health care from the patients’ point-of-view. And that makes us better caregivers.” 

Because they have experience with illness and with MetroHealth, PFA Council members have great insight and many ideas for improvements. “Family members and patients typically make practical suggestions that are straightforward and easy to implement,” said Mary Linda Rivera, director of MetroHealth’s Patient Centered Health Care.

Patients and family members participate on the PFA Council for a variety of reasons, many of them deeply personal. Susan Kiedio, one of the first members of the Council, explains that her husband, Bob, passed away four years ago, after several weeks as an inpatient at MetroHealth. “I met with his doctors after he passed away; we have been working together ever since,” Kiedio said. “I have been amazed at how much the hospital has transformed in these last few years.” 

As a PFA Council member, Kiedio’s efforts are focused primarily on improving communications between caregivers and patients and their family members. “When I speak to new employees during orientation sessions,” she said. “I remind them, repeatedly, to be sure the patient and family members understand their language. Things happen so fast; patients and family are often frightened and don’t really know what’s happening. I ask the caregivers to please take the time to explain.”

According to the Institute for Family Centered Care in Bethesda, MD, establishing a PFA Council is one of the most effective ways to involve families and patients in the design of health care. 

To date, MetroHealth’s PFA Council has provided invaluable feedback on numerous communication tools prepared for patients and their families. “Their input has enabled us to develop more concise and reader friendly materials,” said Rivera. “We are fortunate to have such a committed team working to help us create a better experience for the people we serve.”

Photo, above: MetroHealth Patient and Family Advisors with Jason Wolf, President, The Beryl Institute