Wilmington campus launches Patient and Family Advisory Council

Wilmington campus launches Patient and Family Advisory Council

robert laskowski addressing advisory council
Robert Laskowski, M.D., Christiana Care president and CEO, addresses the inaugural session of the Patient and Family Advisory Council at the Christiana Care Wilmington campus. Patient and family advisers help strengthen the partnership between patients, families and health providers to improve quality of care.

With the kick-off of a Patient and Family Advisory Council on May 16 at the Wilmington campus, Christiana Care has taken an important step forward in our journey toward Patient and Family Centered Care.

Sixteen advisers attended the inaugural meeting at the Wilmington Conference Center, where they introduced themselves and learned about their new role.

Advisers are patient and family volunteers who collaborate with Christiana Care to shape such things as policies, programs, facility design and day-to-day service interactions to continuously improve the care experience.

Bob Laskowski, M.D., president and CEO, provided welcoming comments. “One of the most important things we can do is to listen to your observations and insights on how we can improve the care we provide our neighbors,” he said.

“We want to make Christiana Care the best hospital we can, and some great ideas come from patients,” added Janice E. Nevin, M.D., chief medical officer. “Some of the advice you give will surely change the way we do things.”

Staff chose the advisers for their personal experiences with care and familiarity with the services provided at Wilmington Hospital. Several advisers recounted personal experiences, not all of which were positive ones.

Rae Burton had both good and bad things to say. She recalled the care her husband of 53 years received following heart surgery in 2008. After surgery, her husband developed a hospital-acquired infection, was put on a ventilator and shuttled from institution to institution. “He ended up at Wilmington Hospital after receiving an overdose of insulin,” she said.

Burton wants caregivers to be honest with patients and family members. “One doctor told me he lied to me so he wouldn’t hurt my feelings. That was wrong,” she said. “The one thing the medical establishment can do a better job of is to listen. By listening, we learn and grow.”

Burton thanked Jo Melson, MSN, APN-BC, nurse practitioner at Wilmington, for helping to get her husband moved back home before he passed away. “You helped me immensely,” she said.

“We learn a lot from the stories our patient advisers tell us,” said Dr. Nevin. “They watch our behavior closely. They will help us be far better care providers.”

Patient and family advisers must:

  • Have been a patient or family member who received services at Christiana Care—Wilmington within the past three years.
  • Become an official Christiana Care volunteer.
  • Meet monthly with at least a two-year commitment.
  • Receive training about patient confidentiality and HIPAA regulations.
  • Become oriented to Christiana Care’s mission, core values, history and patient care goals relating to patient and family centered care.

The Patient and Family Centered Care initiative launched at the Wilmington Campus last year introduced several tools to highlight patient and family centered care principles. They included a pledge for staff, a communication reminder to assist in interactions with patients and families and a website with resources for staff.

For more information about the Patient and Family Advisory Council at Wilmington, contact Shelley Nix, patient representative, at 302-428-4608.