FOR RELEASE: 12/23/2010Contact: John Cappiello, (203) 384-3637

Patient Family Advisory Council works to improve care and strengthen bond between Bridgeport Hospital and community

Bridgeport Hospital’s Patient Family Advisory Council has begun its second year of studying hospital care and services and recommending ways to make them more patient-friendly.

“The Council’s role is to help give patients and their families a greater voice in the healthcare decisions that affect them,” says Director of Patient Relations Lynn Charbonneau, a member of the group. “The Council also supports the hospital in helping to ensure the highest standard of care and maintaining a positive relationship with the community.”

Formed in September 2009, the 14-member Council is made up of eight former patients and family members and six hospital representatives.

The Council is chaired by Arthur O’Leary of Monroe. Joan Law of Stratford is vice chair. Colin Green of Southport serves as secretary and Helen Bonk of Stratford is the new member coordinator. Other community members on the Council are Christina Aguilar of Seymour, David Gordon of Bridgeport, and Christy Langguth and Victoria Tedesco, both of Stratford.

“The concept of patient-centered care is based on the belief that healthcare can be improved by building more effective partnerships among patients, families and healthcare providers,” says O’Leary. “The Council provides the voice and perspective of patients and families in guiding Bridgeport Hospital’s priorities and planning.”

Council members have received briefings on a variety of hospital services and initiatives, and participated in meetings on subjects such as palliative care, pain management, hospital quality reporting and the hospital’s new safe patient-handling equipment. The Council also helped Harding High School with a mural project that involved photographing hospital staff members.

One major achievement of the Council has been to recommend enhancements to the hospital’s visitor check-in procedure, which led to the recent adoption of the computerized Visitor Confirm system.

“We’ve been able to account for all the patients and staff in the hospital at any given time but not all visitors were captured by our former check-in system,” Charbonneau says.

Now when visitors arrive at the hospital, they check in at one of three Visitor Confirm computer terminals in the main lobby. The system even prints out a visitor ID badge. The old check-in procedure required a hospital staff member to write out the badge by hand.

“Events like last June’s tornado drove home the importance of being able to track the whereabouts of every person in the hospital,” Charbonneau says. “Visitor Confirm makes that task considerably easier—and visitors can still get in to see patients as quickly as before.”

In the year ahead, the Council will continue with its current initiatives and take on new projects, including one that will support patient satisfaction in the Emergency Department.

Bridgeport Hospital is a 425-bed acute care teaching hospital serving Connecticut’s most populous city and surrounding towns. The hospital provides care to 20,000 inpatients and receives more than 240,000 outpatient visits each year at its main campus and satellite locations.

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Part of Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport Hospital is a 383-bed acute care hospital (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital) serving parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties. The hospital admits more than 18,000 patients and receives more than 240,000 outpatient visits annually.