Patient advisory members needed

by Mary Rains

Mille Lacs Health System

Mille Lacs Health System’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) is always looking for more patient/family members to join the new council. The PFAC is part of a broader system of hospitals – not only across Minnesota, but all over the US– who have embraced the idea of giving patients and families a voice when it comes to their healthcare. Minnesota Hospital Association strongly encourages its members to create PFACs, and those that have find the initiative very successful. The PFAC gives valuable input about care, the physical plant, and many other aspects of the clinic and hospital, as viewed through the patient and/or family member’s experience.

Hospitals and other health care organizations are embarking on a wide range of quality improvement efforts that enhance the care and services provided, improve outcomes, and lead to real organizational change. A key strategy adopted by hospitals to achieve better care is to form these patient and family advisory councils, in order to engage consumers in identifying what has gone well and what can be improved in the healthcare facilities they frequent. PFACs support a culture of healthcare grounded in the principle of a partnership with patient and family.

Kathy Smude, who works as a quality specialist at MLHS and chairs the PFAC, says that though the group is new, they have already suggested changes and ideas that have been implemented. “We really do care what patients and families have to say,” Smude noted. “We want to understand what they genuinely care about and what their needs truly are, and the only way to do that is to engage them in some good listening opportunities, which the PFAC provides. These are meetings that result in real progress, and we’ve seen that already.”

If you or your family receive care at Mille Lacs Health System and are interested in joining the MLHS Patient and Family Advisory Council, please call Kathy Smude in the MLHS Quality Department, at 320-532-2653 for more information.