Inova partners with transplant patients to improve patient care experience

In 2020, the transplant team at Inova established a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) to enhance healthcare delivery for transplant patients and improve their overall experience. The PFAC serves as a platform for patients and caregivers to share valuable feedback and insights with the transplant team on better meeting patient needs during the various stages of transplantation.

The group holds quarterly meetings and has implemented several initiatives that have contributed to reducing readmissions. One of these initiatives is the peer mentoring program, which matches patients and their families with a mentor who has a similar background and has undergone a transplant. These mentors share personal experiences to help patients and their families better understand the effects of transplants and what to anticipate.

The clinical side of the PFAC team includes social workers, nurse coordinators, clinic nurses, nurse practitioners, administrative staff, practice managers and the medical director of the relevant transplant program. 

“Having a PFAC has helped me ensure we include our patients’ voices, ideas and perspectives in our quality improvement work. It makes the work more meaningful and impactful when we know that the changes are directly impacting patients and their relationship with the team,” said social worker Elizabeth Davies.

Founding PFAC advisor and transplant patient Ann Kwak, who had a double lung transplant in 2014, said, “I recognize the power of connection and information in mitigating the fear and uncertainty of managing an unexpected life-changing health condition. The things that have helped me the most are hearing from and seeing examples of others who’ve already walked a similar path. Programs like PFAC help formalize valuable support structures patients didn’t even know they needed.” 

Two of Inova’s transplant PFAC founding team members, Meg Fregoso MSN, NP-BC, and Morgan Wahl RN, BSN, recently led a webinar for nursing and allied health professionals for the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation to share their experiences forming a PFAC and offer guidance to other centers interested in setting up PFACs. Learn more about Inova’s PFACs.  

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