Health Care, Access, Insurance
Pilot Testing a Patient/Family Advisory Process for Hospital Programs for Seniors
(School of Public Health (UMD) Other)
Public Health Significance: This project was anchored by the concept that patient and family engagement is a part of health care reform and by evidence that this engagement can improve health outcomes, quality, and safety and help contain or reduce health care costs. Providing advice to a health care organization is one means of patient and family engagement. Objectives: The project examined the value and feasibility of developing a patient and family advisory process concerning health care services for seniors provided by a local hospital. Approach: The project involved nine individual interviews with hospital staff and two pilot advisory meetings with senior patients and family caregivers. Findings: Findings showed the hospital uses a variety of methods used to engage patients and the community and reports special challenges related to diverse patients and staff. The pilot meetings showed that senior patients and family caregivers could thoughtfully identify hospital strengths, areas for improvements, and solutions. Staff as well as patients and family members had caveats and suggestions regarding the advisory process, but overall were largely (staff) to entirely (patients and family members) positive, with several participants being willing to serve on an ongoing basis. Conclusions: Collectively, the results of this project suggest giving a patient/family group devoted to seniors a chance at success.