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Departments & Programs,Programs and Initiatives,Patient and Family Advisor Partnership Program

Staff Testimonials about Patient and Family Advisory Involvement

Staff Testimonials about Patient and Family Advisory Involvement - Departments & Programs, Programs and Initiatives, Patient and Family Advisor Partnership Program


Through over 50 survey responses and several interviews, the UW Health Patient and Family Advisors shared valuable input to the UW Health strategic planning process. The PFAs feedback, along with other organization input, contributed to our listing of patient experience as the first strategic domain area and the identification of access as a priority focus area. In addition, the PFAs pushed us to carefully reconsider language in our communication strategy that could be understood in unintended ways by those that we serve. We are grateful for their thoughtful and candid input.

- Stephanie Berkson, MPA, Vice President, Planning and Business Development 

Being surrounded by patients and family members who understand what it’s like for someone battling cancer was a unique experience for me. I felt the Oncology PFAC meeting was very genuine and informative; their feedback was invaluable and will be taken into consideration as we develop initiatives for the Oncology Strategic Plan.

- Anna Lu, MBA, Senior Analytics Consultant 

I had the pleasure of presenting the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategic initiatives for fiscal year 2018 to the Psychiatry PFAC. It was great to receive feedback on how to continue to create an inclusive environment for our patients.

 - Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, MA, CHI, CDM, Chief Diversity Officer 

Feedback from our Oncology PFAC on content to include in our chemotherapy videos helped us to clarify what points to touch on.  It helped so much to have these members who have gone through chemotherapy themselves or with a family member to make sure we hit on everything they would have wanted to know before starting treatment. The participation of PFAs in the actual filming of our video helped the end product to look like a realistic experience. I think the testimonials by our PFAs will give other cancer patients hope at a time in their lives when there is a lot of anxiety and trepidation of the days to come.

- Kendra O'Connell, RN, BSN, OCN, Clinic Manager, Oncology Clinics 

I have worked with the Psychiatry PFAC to develop articles in support of UW Health’s e-newsletter program. Their advice and suggestions have been incredibly helpful throughout the process. These articles – like the stigma of mental illness – have helped raise awareness about important issues and fostered collaboration with groups we don’t often get a chance to work with. Our PFA liaison has been amazing to work with. She clearly cares about the topic and has helped us develop articles we might not otherwise have been able to. We are truly grateful for her insights and commitment.

-Stephanie Breiby, Program Manager, Marketing and Communication 

Collaborating with the Psychiatry Patient and Family Advisory Council helped focus and refine the presentation for employees aimed at reducing stigma.  Co-presenting with a PFA representative provided lived experience which was highly impactful.

 - Rachel Edwards, RN-BC, MSN, Nurse Manager, Psychiatry 

The Breast Center PFAC was instrumental in the development of our Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign, providing critical feedback on our idea for pink lights that gave us encouragement and hope that the event will be successful, which in turn provided a new motivation to move forward with the campaign. Their feedback also reminds us that our marketing efforts go beyond what we see in our office, a reminder that each word we write and idea we pitch makes a difference to patients.

 - Lori Strelow, Director of Marketing Communications 

Incorporating a Patient and Family Advisor has added substantively to our effort with the resident training program. The video clips of the PFA giving advice to our newest residents were very well received and made our presentation much more compelling than it would have been otherwise.  

- Emily Winslow, MD, Medical Director, Patient and Family Experience 

Over the course of the past year, the Patient Safety and Quality Committee has been actively monitoring our performance with hospital acquired infections.  Our Patient and Family Advisor has been actively engaged in that conversation, and has continued to ask provocative questions, and reminds us to keep patients at the center of our conversations and work.

 - Betsy Clough, MPH, Vice President, Performance Excellence and Project Management 

The PFA input from over a dozen PFAs on the interior finishes of the B4/4 unit redesign was very influential. The designer from the architectural firm made an initial presentation sharing the design concept with images and material finishes samples. The message from the PFA group was that the interior design was too stark and modern. They preferred materials such as wood that reference nature and are universally calming, as well as a color pallet that included two accent colors from nature: blue and green. Revisions were made to the interior finishes to incorporate the PFA input and I think everyone agrees that the interior design changes improved the final design.

- Ardis Hutchins, AIA, IIDA, Interior Architect 

We have used PFA feedback from Patient and Family Advisors to help improve our first impression areas at both the University Hospital and AFCH.  Their ideas and perspectives are greatly appreciated as well as the time they took to meet with us!

- Beth Weiler, Director of Environmental Services 

With the recent expansion of the Emergency Department in November, PFA input was very valuable.  To get their perspective regarding what it would mean to be a patient experiencing the CDU (ED observation unit) or the CareSTART process (physician in triage approach) was important in ensuring that we were not sacrificing a more human element in our new operations.

- Mike Safa, MD, Medical Director, Berbee Walsh Department of Emergency Medicine 

Two amazing PFAs participated in a monthly workgroup with the aim of designing and implementing a clinic for non-surgical management of knee and hip osteoarthritis. They gave patient input into the design of this clinic and even served as test patients on our “mock clinic” day. I can’t say enough about how important they both were in this process and what a great experience it was to work with them.

- Katie Miller, MD, Internal Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery

We have been fortunate to have a PFA on our advisory board to develop best practices for including patients and families in daily hospital rounds. She consistently kept our focus on the need to better communicate and partner with families during the difficult time of hospitalization. With her help, we now include families and nurses in more than 90% of daily rounds at the bedside, where we are better able to make decisions together about their child’s care. This work has led to a toolkit for other children’s hospitals to improve family-centered rounds, accessed to date by over 300 individuals across 35 states and 6 countries.

- Michelle M. Kelly, MD, Pediatric Hospitalist 

The UW Health PFAC discussion was so helpful as April Buffo and I moved forward with the Critical Care Communicator Program in the Trauma Life Support Center (TLC).  One idea from the PFAC group was for a third party to take notes during family meetings, and recap the meeting with those involved.  We share a lot of information in these meetings, and it is many times both intellectually as well as emotionally taxing.  The new note-taking tool has been incredibly helpful and well received by TLC families. The PFAC's work to improve care for other patients and families is truly having an impact!

- Andrew O'Donnell, BSN, RN, CCRN, Trauma Life Support Center 

At the AFCH PFAC, I presented K Cards (Kamishibai Cards) which are an intentional rounding tool that I use with staff to assess their compliance/knowledge/understanding of hospital acquired conditions protocol. I asked the PFAC if this was an important tool to complete with the nurse in the presence of the family. I am pleased to report that I have now incorporated a ‘safety check’ at the end of the K-card with the RN and the patient/family, which has been very well received by the patients and families.

- Windy Smith, RN, Nurse Manager, AFCH   

The Breast Center PFAC has consistently provided thoughtful and timely recommendations for the development of the UW Health Breast Center. One of the most impactful effects has been their review of the patient materials and handouts. More recently the PFAC provided insightful discussion and recommendations regarding how the oncology providers should interact and communicate with primary care providers. It is input such as this that helps guide and direct our providers to ensure that our patients care is personalized and comprehensive.

-Lee G. Wilke, MD, Professor of Surgery and Director, UW Health Breast Center 

With the help of our AFCH PFAC advisors we are pleased to be the first children’s hospital to offer MyChart Bedside. With this innovative tool, families can access their child’s daily hospital schedule, medication list, test results, and photos of their care team on an iPad. Parents have said this helps them better monitor and understand the care their child needs and that they feel empowered to make care decisions for their child. Based on these benefits, we will be using MyChart Bedside across our entire organization. Our outcomes have inspired other children’s hospitals and will be featured nationally in the Children’s Hospital Association newsletter.

- Michelle M. Kelly, MD, Pediatric Hospitalist  

We appreciate our PFAs for their commitment to patient experience in the care of our Emergency Department patients! Their involvement is integral to setting direction for our team as we continuously improve the service to our patients and their families. We appreciate their efforts and overall perspective which is so valuable as we strive to improve. With their continued assistance, we will meet our goals of exceptional patient experience in our Emergency Department!

-  Anne Rifleman, RN, Director, Emergency Services 

I am very appreciative of the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic PFAC’s time and energy in helping us care for our patients and families. In all my tasks, I try to understand the perspective of the patient and improve our systems to meet their needs. This group helped me understand the patient and family perspective with much more depth. Moreover, the volunteers on this committee are so inspiring. It was moving to hear their stories. I relayed my experience meeting with them to our full ACHD team and individually with several colleagues, emphasizing how brave, thoughtful and inspiring our patients are and how fortunate we are to get to work with them.

- Heather Bartlett, MD, Cardiovascular Medicine