Patient and Family Advisory Council

Collaboration often leads to greater synergy and goal achievement. That’s why Meritus Medical Center believes patients and families should be full partners in their care.

The Patient and Family Advisory Council or PFAC is a committee focused on improving the patient experience and the quality of care at the hospital. On a monthly basis, a team of health care providers, former hospital patients and family members gather together to exchange ideas on how to build a better relationship between patient, family members and providers.

The partnership strives to:

  • Create a forum of open communication between patients, families and hospital staff.
  • Embrace the unique perspectives and valuable feedback from patients and their caregivers.
  • Identify patient and family needs and concerns.
  • Provide services to meet consumer needs and priorities.
  • Help patients and family members gain a better understanding of the health care system.

“When patients are admitted to the hospital, they don’t often have a clue as to what’s going on with them physically or how they’ll be cared for,” says Marilyn Smith, a member of PFAC since its inception in 2013. Marilyn’s unique patient perspective comes from her experience as a cancer survivor and her volunteer work as a Meritus Medical Center auxilian.

In recent years, PFAC has improved signage and wayfinding in the emergency department, enhanced patient discharge instructions and instituted a hospital pet visitation policy. In the spring, Marilyn was asked to join a facility redesign team to create and test potential designs for the John R. Marsh Cancer Center’s treatment areas.

“It was great to be asked the question, ‘As a patient, does this make sense to you?’” says Marilyn. She also applauds the hospital’s decision to update the visiting policy to allow patients to define who is a family member—a reflection of the patient and family-centered care philosophy.

By understanding what matters most to patients and their families, Meritus Medical Center can improve quality and safety and evolve the culture of patient-centered care.

For additional information about PFAC or to inquire about becoming a member, please contact Diana Palmer at 301-790-8811 or