NORTH CONWAY, NH – Are you looking to help your community hospital gain a better understanding of patient needs? Memorial Hospital is seeking new participants for their Patient & Family Advisory Council. The Council was founded by Dr. Ray Rabideau over 8 years ago to serve as a conduit between the public and the Hospital. Its goal is to support Memorial’s commitment to meeting the health needs of the Mt. Washington Valley and surrounding communities by serving with our community partners in the provision of accessible, comprehensive, compassionate, and quality health care. In addition, the Council exists to create a consistent atmosphere to build loyalty and trust in the hospital. They also strive to share and learn from others in an effort to expand the voices of patients and families throughout the Mt. Washington Valley. It is a broad based group of individuals that includes patients and family members, business and civic leaders, hospital staff and volunteers, and others with a variety of healthcare issues and experiences. Meetings are once a month and last for 60 minutes.
Juan Munoz, who volunteers in the Emergency Department at Memorial and also serves as a Council Member, says “Patient Advisory Council members ideally utilize their perspective to promote change, improve the patient experience, and challenge the status-quo on practices and facilities that dilute the patient care and experience.” Juan continued, “I think all Advisory Council members should have direct interaction with patients, whether they volunteer or are an employee”.
Council Member Christine Ayer adds: “The Council is an excellent medium for communication and exchange of information between the community, the hospital, and between the different departments of the hospital. Discussion adds another dimension to the exchange. I am so impressed with the dedication of the department heads”
A recent article by Laura Landro in the Wall Street Journal talked about the impact Councils can have. The article stated, “Many times patients simply want to put their experience behind them and don’t want to go back. However, more and more hospitals, care facilities, and clinics, are forming advocacy groups or committees as a way to make the patient experience better for them and their families. For hospitals, the councils are an integral part of a strategy known as patient and family engagement. Councils were rare in hospitals a decade ago, but a survey published in the journal BMJ Safety and Quality found that about 38% of hospitals surveyed had the panels.”
The Council supports the hospital’s Operational Excellence program that was implemented a year ago. Some of the goals of this Program are to increase transparency across the organization, to create a culture that embraces change, drive process improvements, and develop an organization that is equipped to manage change.
The Council members have been included in projects such as: strategic planning, working with architects in developing plans for recent facility renovations, service line development, and review of patient experiences and quality metrics.
The ideal candidates are individuals who are patients or family members who have received care at Memorial Hospital and/or its affiliates, the ability to communicate and work with families, patients, and staff in a positive manner, have the ability to share positive and negative experiences in a constructive way, excellent listening and people skills, the ability to listen to differing opinions and share different points of view, have an understanding of and strict adherence to the hospital confidentiality ethic, and an enthusiasm for the hospital’s mission for quality health care. Those sharing this desire should consider joining the others on this great team.
The next Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 from 5:00 – 6:00pm in the Sun Room in the Bigelow Building at the hospital. This meeting will host an Open House format and any community members interested in joining the group are invited to come learn more about it. Anyone who has an interest in representing the patient’s point of view in healthcare and would like to support their local community hospital’s efforts to improve the patient experience are strongly encouraged to attend.
For more information please contact Peter Waugh, Volunteer & Communications Coordinator at 603-5461-5461 ext. 2291 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
About Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, family birthing center, sleep center, wound care and hyperbaric medicine center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services and the Miranda Center for Diabetes. Physician practices include primary care and family medicine, women's health, orthopedics and sports medicine. The Merriman House, a 45-bed nursing home specializing in Alzheimer's and other memory disorders, is also located on the hospital campus. Together, our staff and providers are committed to meeting the health needs of the Mt. Washington Valley and surrounding communities by collaborating with community partners in the delivery of accessible, comprehensive, compassionate, and quality health care.