The Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) was established in October 2010 at Bradford Rehabilitation Hospital. Comprised of patients, family members, and staff who collaborate on improving the hospital’s quality of care and accessibility, the council also advocates for patients and their families while promoting patient-centered care. 

Customer Relations Coordinator Karen Nelson has been working with PFAC for almost four years. Patient advocacy is essential to her, given how often she works with patients’ families during their stay, from grievances to accolades. She’s dedicated to finding out exactly what each patient is looking for at Bradford, along with the level of care they truly need. For Karen, being a part of PFAC is vital to ensuring that the level of attention and care continues during COVID-19.

Council members are chosen based on their affiliation with Bradford, and their agreement to maintain confidentiality, respect for other perspectives, constructively share experiences and work in a group setting. The PFAC at Bradford has moved behind the typical model of “sounding board” and become a part of the institution’s fabric: leading projects, spearheading training, and accomplishing many initiatives since its inception:

  • Whittier’s medical passport, a free guide for patients to take home that included a medication list, allergies, and other important information
  • An educational packet for patients offering multiple avenues of communication with staff to improve comfort levels
  • A weekly support group at Bradford allowing families members to connect and share both coping strategies and success stories
  • A hospital-wide training for Bradford staff with a strong emphasis on the importance of customer service

Although COVID-19 has forced Bradford’s PFAC to postpone in-person meetings, the committee has shifted its attention to supporting staff, promoting communication and empathy, policies, and best practices during this challenging time. PFAC is also looking to the future and how Whittier can incorporate more digital options into their offerings, including virtual tours and recruiting new members to include different ethnic groups.

While PFAC members are asked to commit to two years of service on the committee, some members have remained a part of PFAC for more than their original commitment, including a husband and wife team. “It’s really a family,” Karen says. “People are 100% truthful when they share their experiences. It’s so important to get real perspective so we can continue to make things better for patients and families at Bradford.”

Contact Karen Nelson directly to learn more about PFAC or to schedule your virtual tour.

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