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American Association for Physician Leadership
American Association for Physician Leadership

The New Patient/Family Volunteer and the Use of Patient/Family Advisory Councils

by Kathleen Tontarski | Tiffany L. Bennett, CAVS, CVAC | Lorraine Kammerer, RN, BS, BC

June 8, 2017


Summary:

Volunteers now are using their professional and life experience skills to better assist healthcare systems with their strategies and initiatives. Some of the newer volunteer roles include Patient/Family Advisory Council members. The partnership between the community and the healthcare team depends on collaboration to enhance the patient and family experience in promoting quality care.



Abstract:

Traditionally, volunteers in a healthcare setting have been thought of as candy stripers, retirees, or individuals looking for ways to give back. Today’s volunteer is the student, homemaker, patient, family member, job seeker, or retired professional. Volunteers now are using their professional and life experience skills to better assist healthcare systems with their strategies and initiatives. Some of the newer volunteer roles include Patient/Family Advisory Council members. Patient/Family Advisory Council members are volunteers who have had a Virtua practice experience, or live in the community. They come from diverse backgrounds with multiple diagnoses and experiences at Virtua. The partnership between the community and the healthcare team depends on collaboration to enhance the patient and family experience in promoting quality care. Volunteers bring their perspective and “voice” to generate new ideas and advocate for an outstanding patient experience. Today’s volunteers are given more responsibility and are asked to be change agents in hospitals and physician practices.


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Kathleen Tontarski

Patient Representative, Virtua Health, Marlton, New Jersey; phone: 609-221-0547; e-mail: ktontarski@virtua.org.


Tiffany L. Bennett, CAVS, CVAC

Director of Volunteer Services, Virtua Health.


Lorraine Kammerer, RN, BS, BC

Clinical Operations Manager, Virtua Medical Group.

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