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Emergency Department initiates Patient and Family Advisory Council

Strategic Goal: Exceptional Experience

Staff in Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Emergency Department believe that the experience of care, as perceived by a patient and their family members, is a key factor in healthcare quality and safety. Bringing the perspectives of patients and families directly into the planning, delivery and evaluation of emergency healthcare, thereby improving quality and safety, is the cornerstone for patient- and family-centered care. To that end, Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital’s Emergency Department has initiated a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC).

The group, currently comprised of four patient and family members, a nurse, a unit secretary, an emergency medicine provider and a patient liaison, has oversight from Chief of Emergency Medicine Luis Lobón, MD, MS, ED Nurse Director Robin Powell, BSN, RN, and Director of Service Excellence and Performance Improvement Kae Santos. The group is co-chaired by staff nurse Sarah Auerbach, BSN, RN.

Dr. Lobón is grateful for the diverse group of Council members. “We have people who have had good experiences here and people who have had awful experiences here,” he says of the patients and family members who participate in the group. “We learn from our mistakes. We learn from our shortfalls. But we have an incredible opportunity to further advance our care based on their feedback.”

Eunice Charles, ED PFAC Coordinator, says all staff are invited to attend meetings as participants and bring questions/projects to pose or present to the group. With the input of the PFAC, the department has already worked on several initiatives: obtaining Badge Buddies for the PA and MD groups so that staff, patients and families can quickly identify their role in the ED, gathering patient feedback on the care redesign projects going on in the ED and working on a communication project to help staff better communicate status updates with patients.

“What I love most about being part of the Brigham Health family is how patient-centered care is at the core of everything we do,” says Charles. “As a department we are no different—the ED PFAC is truly about getting feedback from our community, patients and their families so we can deliver better care to the population we serve.” 

Auerbach feels similarly about the new group. “The ED PFAC is a wonderful committee that joins the Emergency Department staff and the patients of BWFH to work towards improvement in an exciting way,” she says. “The patient advisors bring a unique and valuable perspective. It is really special that we have an inclusive environment in our ED with different disciplines welcoming the voice of our patients, and I feel that is the basis of our PFAC.”

If you would like to be more involved with the Emergency Department at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital and are interested in being considered for the role of Emergency Department Patient Family Advisor, please contact:

Eunice Charles, ED PFAC Coordinator

617-983-7168 or

ED PFAC members:
Front row, from left: Sarah Auerbach, BSN, RN, and Bob Tildsley
Back row, from left: Robin Powell, BSN, RN, Eunice Charles and Eileen Keough

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