January finds many of us thinking about the old habits we need to shed and what we might do differently as we usher in the New Year. Lots of us think about health resolutions, but I am going to ask you to think about a different kind of New Year’s resolution for 2019 – one that centers on being a force for positive change.
An important part of providing the best care to this community is gaining feedback from our patients – and acting upon it. A perfect example of this was our recent series of focus groups in which over 30 community members gave their valuable time and thoughts about how we can make our facilities and services even more age-friendly. I appreciate your involvement, and we intend to use your feedback to create a strategic plan for our future – one that will align closely with what you define as our community’s needs.
To that end, a new opportunity exists for our patients and families: We’re calling for volunteers to form our new Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), which will be comprised of community members who have been treated at HCH, patients’ family support members, caregivers, and hospital leadership. PFAC members will bring fresh perspectives and practical ideas that will improve the experience for patients in our care, educate community members about our services, and powerfully shape the care we offer in the future. After all, who has a better insider’s view of the care we provide than those who have received it?
This model was initially piloted at Mission Hospital and has been very successful. Karen Hendricks, HCH’s Quality and Safety Manager, will oversee the creation of the PFAC, and help coordinate its work. “I’m passionate about this project because I too have been a patient; that experience stirs me to do all I can to encourage patients to speak out, which leads to improved care and positive change.” PFAC is a powerful tool in a model of care that is based on patient-caregiver partnerships. “I am fortunate to hear many patient stories, and each reminds me, and everyone at HCH, why we the caring profession in the first place,” adds Hendricks.
Please consider engaging with HCH to improve community care in this new and exciting way. If you’re interested in participating in the HCH Patient and Family Advisory Council, contact Karen Hendricks by February 15, at 828-526-1243. Your valued insights will help make our community stronger and healthier.
Jacqueline Medland, PhD, RN, is the President/Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) of Highlands-Cashiers Hospital. Jackie has enjoyed a career as a healthcare leader for over 30 years, including positions in direct patient care, advanced practice nursing, nursing management and hospital administration.