Our Journey: PFAC and Research at a Community-Based Hospital

Middlesex Hospital PFAC

Middlesex Hospital, a member of Mayo Clinic Care Network, 275 bed, suburban community hospital serving 265,000 residents in Middlesex County. Services include inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, emergency, and rehabilitation facilities. Middlesex Hospital has been designated Top 100 Hospital four times, ANCC Magnet© Award since 2001.

Middlesex Hospital’s 13 member PFAC was founded in March, 2012. The PFAC mission is to collaborate with Middlesex Health System on opportunities to achieve the highest quality, safest, and most respectful and compassionate care for everyone served. The PFAC meets monthly and co-chairs are elected annually. PFAC members also participate on six hospital-based committees.

In 2001, Middlesex Hospital founded a 20 member Interprofessional Research Council (IRC). The mission of IRC is to provide support and to facilitate the development and translation of new knowledge into practice so that our providers can give the safest, highest quality health care, and the best experience possible for our community. The IRC reviews new research studies, except pharmacological and oncology studies, and uses a scoring matrix, including a patient centered component, to stratify projects.

As a Project Site for Creating Capacity for Sustainable Partnerships with Patients and Families in Research, Middlesex Hospital PFAC and IRC formed a partnership. PFAC members believed that including the patient perspective in research is the right thing to do for patient care and outcomes, but they were initially unsure about their involvement. As they gained knowledge, they became more excited about participating, and a PFAC research subcommittee formed. This subcommittee, led by our nurse researcher, learned about existing hospital research projects, discussed what role the PFAC members might play, and established a protocol for IRC research collaborations.

As a result of IRC and PFAC partnership, two PFAC members joined the hospital’s Interdisciplinary Research Council in 2015 in order to learn more about ongoing research projects. IRC members created a form to score proposed research projects, making patient-centered research one component in the selection of research projects to support. The PFAC members on the IRC identify patient-centered projects and match PFAC members with researchers who report back to the PFAC with updates on the status of the hospital’s research projects. Next steps include creation of a decision tool for our PFAC to vote on study participation, additional educational sessions, and ongoing updates on possibilities to collaborate with research in progress at the hospital.

Team members included:

  • Elizabeth Molle, MSN, RN-BC, Position
  • Nancy Goodwin, MLS, AHIP, Director, Library & Knowledge Services
  • Donna Drouin, Patient Advisor
  • Sheila Daniels, Patient Advisor
  • Stephanie Garvey, Patient Advisor
  • Kristine Pierce, Patient Advisor