Looking out for patients


To the Editor:

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has been in the news a lot during the past few years. During that time, and before, a committee called the Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC) has operated at the hospital. Every hospital in Massachusetts is required to have a PFAC committee that meets quarterly at a minimum. The purpose of the committee is “to provide quality, patient-centered care” and “to facilitate family and patient participation in hospital care.” Each October, the hospital is required to submit to the state an annual report of committee work.

The work of the PFAC is not political. Nor is it to make the work of the hospital administration and board more transparent. The job of the PFAC is to help determine how to make the life of patients at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital more comfortable.

During the past few years, the PFAC has been responsible for providing white boards in every patient room so that patients know the name and assignment of their doctors and nurses every day. PFAC has created a drug disposal flyer so that community members know how important it is to discard unused medications in designated receptacles around the Island. PFAC has investigated work with the Healthy Aging Task Force to promote the importance of Advanced Directives for Islanders of all ages, not just the elderly. These are only three of the small but important initiatives targeted by this committee during recent years.

The PFAC consists of an equal number of community members and hospital staff members. The community members currently serving on this committee are Celeste Stickney, Michael Kobran, Brenda Brathwaite, Dan Cabot, and Elaine Pace. These folks are eager to serve the Island as best they can. If you have had an experience that suggests that the PFAC can make a change to help hospital patients (outpatients as well as inpatients) suffer their ailments and infirmities a bit more comfortably, share your concern privately with these folks, and they will bring them to the attention of the hospital through the PFAC.

We are very proud of our hospital. Testimonials from patients reiterate the quality of its care. If, based on your experience or the experience of your family and friends, you can offer a suggestion to make patient experience even more positive, work with us.

Elaine Pace
Vineyard Haven