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Iredell Health System Patient & Family Advisory Council Gives a Voice to the Community

Monday, October 10, 2022

If you’re a patient of any kind, you want those caring for you to understand your situation and perspective. You need someone to not only care for you and treat you but also advocate for you.

Since its opening in 1954, Iredell Health System has made the wellbeing of patients and their families its top priority. Iredell places patient experience, community health, and high-quality care to all at the forefront of its mission.

That’s why Iredell Health System created the Patient & Family Advisory Council (IPFAC) — to further this important mission and bring community voices and unique perspectives to the organization.

The IPFAC provides a vital link between the health system and the community and offers an opportunity for community members to take an active role in improving the patient and visitor healthcare experience.

Fostering relationships with patients, families, and the community is crucial to recognizing new opportunities for even better care.

“The Patient & Family Advisory Council is dedicated to ensuring patients and families have a safe, compassionate, and supported healthcare experience. The council represents patient and family perspectives about the healthcare experience at Iredell Health System and makes recommendations for improvement. We need patient and community feedback so it can be used to better support patients and families going forward,” said Rebecca Creech Tart, Ph.D., Council Lead.

The IPFAC facilitates actual patient and family feedback about certain topics, ranging from hospital design, to safety initiatives, to discharge information, and more.

The IPFAC consists of diverse community members, many of whom were former patients or family members of patients. The council also includes representatives from Iredell Health System’s team.

“Having worked in a hospital environment previously, I know just how important it is for patients to have an advocate and for patients and families to receive information they can easily understand. I saw the council as a valuable idea and a great way to get the community involved, and that is why I joined,” said Tart.

Brian Sutton, President of Iredell Health System Volunteers, is also on the council. For Sutton, volunteering at the hospital and being a former patient himself made joining the council an easy decision.

“I served as a volunteer in the radiation therapy department and noticed a lot of apprehension from patients and their families. They really valued conversations and experiences from a former patient, which I was. I saw the impact that had on them, and that it could change their attitude from anxiety and fear to contentment and understanding. I realize the importance of that and thought the patient and family council would be a good medium to fill that need,” he said.

Sutton, Tart, and the other members of the council want the community to know they are here to support and advocate for them. They provide a crucial voice that represents all patients and families of patients who receive care at Iredell Health System.

“We all heavily believe in the council and enjoy being a part of it. We want the community to know about us and know we are representing them,” said Sutton.

The IPFAC is looking for a few more members to complete its team. If you are interested in learning more or joining, please call Jed Pidcock, Director of Patient Experience at Iredell Health System and IPFAC Council Advisor, at 704-878-4524.

Iredell Health System Patient & Family Advisory Council Goals and Objectives:

  • Advise: Work in an advisory role to discuss and enhance the person-centered care model at Iredell Health System (IHS).
  • Support: Support staff and leadership in their person-centered care activities and initiatives. Act as a sounding board for the implementation of new programs and existing programs across IHS.
  • Participate: Provide patient and family member representation to the organization’s work focusing on but not limited to patient safety, quality improvement, facility design, service excellence, ethics, and education.
  • Identify: Identify existing best practices in person-centered care and explore ways to share and replicate those successes across IHS.
  • Represent: Represent patient and family perspectives about the healthcare experience at IHS and make recommendations for improvement.
  • Educate: Collaborate with IHS staff to facilitate patient and family access to information. Influence and participate in IHS staff orientation, patient and family education, and discharge/transition planning.
  • Evaluate: Evaluate IPFAC’s role in improving outcomes for patients and families.

Iredell Health System Patient & Family Advisory Council Members Include:

  • Kim Holland
  • Xochitl Koppelmeyer
  • Tip Nicholson
  • Rise Sandrowitz
  • Brian Sutton
  • Pamela Williams
  • Brandy Collins
  • Rebecca Tart, Council Lead
  • Jed Pidock, Council Advisor