The Patient and Family Experience: Magee’s Advisory Council

Magee’s Patient and Family Advisory Council includes patients and their family members who volunteer their time to be a part of the council, along with Magee’s administrative leadership and front-line staff. The council meetings focus primarily on customer service, with the intent to improve things like the admission and discharge processes and the general level of collaboration between patients, families, and staff. The mission of the council is to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities by helping foster and continually improve the culture of patient-and family-centered care at Magee.

In 2010, Marci Ruediger, Magee’s director of performance improvement and council facilitator, attended a presentation on patient and family advisory councils by The Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care at Hospital and HealthSystem of PA Patient Safety Conference. “During the next several months, Magee embarked on a journey that truly energized the team and motivated us to change the healthcare experience with our patients and family members,” said Ms. Ruediger. “Our journey started by gathering a team and following the Institute’s guidelines to establish a mission and charter. We created awareness about the need for the program with staff and recruited former patients. The group continues to evolve and create a positive impact on the operations of the organization.”

The first meeting was held in January 2013. Meetings are scheduled six times per year in the following months: January, March, May, July, September, and November, on dates and times that are convenient for the majority of the members.

The council is comprised of a diverse group of 6-10 patients and family members who represent a variety of clinical experiences, along with 6-10 staff members representing administrative and clinical areas.

The council is led by a chairperson and an assistant chairperson who are elected by the entire group from among the patient and family participants. Magee provides a group facilitator who remains content neutral and assists the group by encouraging collaborative decision making and providing other logistical support such as scheduling meetings, recording decisions, and tracking open agenda items.

Some topics discussed over the past three years include the admissions and discharge processes, feedback related to various clinical and nonclinical services, and review of proposed facility renovations, such as the rooftop healing garden and the website. Council members have provided input and made recommendations related to nearly everything that can impact the patient and family experience while at Magee, including food, guest relations and concierge services, staff responsiveness to patient requests, and the environment of care, including cleanliness, safety, and security.

After each meeting, council recommendations and suggestions become action items that are reviewed by an interdisciplinary working group representing key patient care departments. Working group members engage appropriate department and hospital leaders in order to investigate the feasibility of the suggestions and to insure implementation of approved changes. The council facilitator then reports back to the council members on progress, implementation of changes and any challenges faced in implementing action items.

The length of council term is limited to two years in order to keep feedback reflective of recent patient experience. Each year, new members are invited to join the group to reflect the most recent experience of patients and their families.

Recruitment is ongoing for new members. If you are interested in learning more about Magee’s PFAC, please contact Marci Ruediger at or call 215–587–3454. An application is here.

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