Volunteer as a Patient Advisor and Make a Difference in Patient Care
Volunteer as a Patient Advisor to Share Your Experience and Make a Difference in Patient Care
Since its official launch in November 2017, Kaiser Permanente Antioch’s Patient Advisory Council (PAC) has grown from an idea to a highly active group making a real difference in the lives of members and staff. The PAC meets monthly to share experiences, ideas, and suggestions on how Antioch Medical Center can become the best place to receive care.
“The goal is to improve the overall experience of our members and patients in the future by receiving real-time, real-life feedback from people who are coming to us for their care,” says Ariel Chan, volunteer services manager, who is co-chair of the PAC.
Who becomes a patient advisor? Perhaps you! Think back to the last time you or a family member were in the hospital. Did you think there were things that could have been improved? And did you have ideas about how some of the problems you noticed might be fixed? If so, joining the PAC is an opportunity to share that feedback.
Patient advisors attend monthly meetings where they are encouraged to speak up and share their experiences – both positive and negative – and those they have observed. The PAC takes an upbeat and practical approach to brainstorming ideas and coming up with creative solutions.
“The establishment of the PAC has been an exciting development at Antioch Medical Center,” says Janet G. Jule, chief nurse executive and interim chief operating officer. “We have been pleased with the success of the program and how well received it has been by volunteers, staff, and members.”
Patricia Ahern has been a volunteer at Antioch Hospital for 11 years as well as a longtime member, and was one of the first to join the PAC. “I’ve spent a lot of time at the hospital as a member and volunteer, and when people would come up and tell me something they liked or didn’t like, I always kept a list, thinking someday I’ll do something with this,” Ahern says. Joining the PAC was the perfect opportunity. “In the 14 months I’ve been on the committee, I’d say everything on that list has been taken care of.”
Currently, the PAC has seven members and would love to have more. “We see many opportunities to grow the program and look forward to extending it to other departments,” says Jule. Volunteers need to be members of the local area or receive care in the Diablo Service area, not be employed by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, or The Permanente Medical Group, Inc, and have four to five hours a month available to attend the monthly meetings.
“The more people who join the PAC, the more we can spread this successful strategy to other areas,” says Chan. “Everyone has been so impressed with how inspired and committed the PAC volunteers are. They have made a real difference.”