Bringing patients and families to the table

Greater involvement leads to better solutions, care

In 2015, The University of Vermont Medical Center began inviting patients and their families to work with us to improve the quality and safety of care we provide, and the overall patient experience. Since then, the patient and family perspective has become an important part of planning and decision-making at the UVM Medical Center.

  • We have 92 patient/family advisors who participate in 76 diverse workgroups and committees. Our Patient and Family Advisory Council is regularly consulted by staff members wanting feedback on ideas under consideration. For example, the council recently provided feedback on developing clear directions for patients and families to help prevent infections, and reviewed plans for a more patient-friendly website.
  • Patient/family advisors have been essential to the development and adoption of UVM Medical Center’s Welcoming Policy. Building on work begun in 2015, our new Welcoming Policy – which makes it possible for family members or friends designated by the patient to be involved in their care – is expected to soon be implemented in all our hospital inpatient units. Advisors have also been involved in staff education and the development of materials that provide information about how to help care for a loved one.
  • Key to patient- and family-centered care is our commitment to share information with patients and their families. The Patient and Family Council created “Always Events,” exchanges that should be part of every encounter patients have with health care providers.
  • Patient/family advisors share their personal experiences at meetings and events across the UVM Medical Center, from new-employee orientation to clinical staff meetings. Their stories are compelling because they clearly highlight the ways staff impact the quality of their care – and how we can do better.

UVM Medical Center plans to add more advisors to its roster in 2017. Learn more.