Patient and family advisory councils: engaging patients in how care is designed, delivered and experienced: A literature review

Date

2014-12-22

Authors

Van Veen, Bonnie

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Abstract

In order for healthcare to be truly patient-centered patients and families must be involved in the planning and evaluation of health services. Yet the question remains-- how to effectively engage patients and families in how care is designed, delivered and experienced. Many organizations are suggesting the development of Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) as an effective engagement strategy. My goal was to identify key practices required to develop and sustain effective PFACs, as well as determine potential patient, staff and organization outcomes of PFACs. I conducted a literature review, searching three electronic databases for articles or studies about PFACs published in English from 2007-2014 in adult acute care hospitals or cancer centres. Sixty-seven articles were initially identified through electronic searching, eight met the inclusion and exclusion criteria and were analyzed along with two other reports. Six unique essential practices for an effective PFAC were noted across the literature: advancement of the culture of patient- centered care (PCC) within the organization, strategic recruitment of PFAC members, skilled chair/co-chair, well run meetings, presence of a feedback loop, and senior leadership support. Improved patient, staff and organization outcomes such as increased patient satisfaction, increased sensitivity toward the patient experience, extensive and sustained change, decreased length of stay and an improved patient experience were anecdotally noted within organizations with PFACs. However, because of the integrated nature of PFACs within an organization, where PFACs are positioned as part of a much larger team, as well as the lack of patient engagement measures, a direct relationship between PFACs and improved outcomes could not be found. Well-functioning PFACs positioned as respected partners in an organization are starting to contribute to improved outcomes but more research evidence is needed to support PFACs as an effective patient engagement strategy.

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Keywords

patient and family engagement, patient and family advisory councils, patient and family centered care

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