Patient and Family Advisor Program
The Patient and Family Advisor (PFA) Program, within the Office of Patient Experience, helps improve patient care by giving an important voice to patients and their families.
The program is made up of volunteer patients and family members who serve as members and advisors on committees, councils, task forces, steering committees and other teams at MetroHealth. Many PFAs also participate in speaking engagements, sharing their stories and encouraging other patients and family members to advocate for themselves and their loved ones.
Our mission is to partner with patients and family members to transform The MetroHealth System by ensuring the patient's and family’s voices are heard. The MetroHealth System Patient and Family Advisor Program includes more than 40 patients and family members. Collectively, PFAs log more than 400 volunteer hours annually.
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 work in collaboration with MetroHealth staff 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 councils, committees, projects and speaking engagements within the past year, including a presentation at The Beryl Institute Patient Experience Conference 2019. Shannon Scott-Miller in collaboration with MetroHealth staff co-presented Engaging the Patient, Family and Community for Transgender Pediatric Patients.
If you are a patient or family member interested in becoming a Patient and Family Advisor, please contact [email protected]
The Patient and Family Advisory Council - Using Personal Experiences to Improve Patient Experience
The PFA Council (PFAC), which includes patients, family members of patients and MetroHealth employees, provides feedback on initiatives and processes, reviews instructional materials and generates ideas to improve the patient experience. Patient and Family Advisor Eartha Weston co-chairs the council.
“I enjoy volunteering as a MetroHealth Patient and Family Advisor and serving as the Patient and Family Advisory Council co-chair because it gives me the opportunity to be a viable team member whose input is valued and considered.”
Eartha Watson, Patient and Family Advisor
Jennifer Lastic, Manager, Patient-Centered Care, has been involved with the development of the Patient and Family Advisor Program from day one and has continued to lead and foster growth. Lastic knows the benefits and importance of including the voice of patients and family members. “Integrating Patient and Family Advisors throughout the system is a valuable way to improve care and health of our patients.”
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 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, I remind them, repeatedly, to be sure the patient and family members understand their language,” she said. “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, establishing a PFA Council is one of the most effective ways to involve families and patients in the design of health care.
MetroHealth’s PFA Council has provided valuable feedback on numerous communication tools prepared for patients and their families.
“Since the PFA Program’s inception in 2014, the program has grown exponentially leading to improvements in quality, safety, environmental design and delivery of care,” said Lastic. “The contributions of our Patient and Family Advisors are felt by patients and their families daily. Collaborating with our Patient and Family Advisors has become part of the culture at MetroHealth.”
MetroHealth Patient and Family Advisor Program Recognition
- The Volunteer Management Report November 2020: Seek Input From Those You Have Served.
- Ohio Hospital Association HIINformation Newsletter 2018: Ohio Hospital Creates Patient, Family Experience Program
- Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care MetroHealth Profile
- Reinforcing a Commitment to Community: On the Road with The MetroHealth System