Be the voice of patients and families

Patients and families are central to everything we do. Penn State Health’s Patient- and Family-Centered Care Advisory Councils bring together families, patients and hospital staff to help provide the best care to our patients.

Feedback from patients and their families helps Penn State Health create a better experience for everyone who comes through our doors. Together, our council members identify areas where we can improve the patient and family experience, then work to make those changes happen.

Members of our Advisory Councils speak from experience – they’ve been patients, family members and/or caregivers. They know that sharing their experiences can help improve the health and well-being of every patient at Penn State Health.

Our focus

The Patient- and Family-Centered Care Advisory Councils:

  • Seek input from the patient and family perspective to ensure our services meet their needs
  • Establish a forum to develop creative solutions for the health system and its staff
  • Meet with a variety of hospital leaders to collaborate on new initiatives

Council initiatives

  • Provide ongoing feedback on quality and safety issues, marketing campaigns, food services and patient satisfaction 
  • Made coffee stations available in family waiting areas
  • Started Comfort Cart with amenities for visitors
  • Advised on food sourcing project
  • Participate in various hospital councils and committees

Who can join?

To join one of our Patient- and Family-Centered Care Advisory Councils, you need to:

  • Be a patient or family member of a patient who is receiving or has received care at Penn State Health
    • Family, as defined by the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, refers to two or more persons who are related in any way – biologically, legally, or emotionally. In the patient- and family-centered care approach, the definition of family, as well as the degree of the family’s involvement in health care, is determined by the patient, provided that he or she is developmentally mature and competent to do so.
  • Commit to serving on a council for at least one year 
  • Attend monthly meetings

When do we meet?

Penn State Health’s Patient- and Family-Centered Care Advisory Councils each meet for 1 1/2 to two hours in the evening once a month. Zoom links or meeting locations will be provided to members. 

How can I join?

If you have ideas to help improve care for Penn State Health patients and their families, we invite you to join as a Patient- and Family-Centered Care Advisory Council member. Your voice matters to us and will help us improve the care we provide to all.

Submit an application

Still would like more information? Please email [email protected] or call 717-531-0003, ext. 284511.

Hear from our council members

I think it’s rewarding to give the patient’s perspective on ideas that the staff may have, and it’s just as interesting to get the staff’s perspective on ideas that we patients have.

Patient/Family Council Member

Council members have a voice to help the institution improve the patient experience.

Staff Council Member

I bring to the table considerable experience as a patient. I have been in and out of hospitals for 69 years. I think I have seen quite a wide variety of care over the years.

Patient/Family Council Member

I hope to bring a physician perspective on our work environment in our desire to treat all patients respectfully and in a caring manner

Staff Council Member

Lion Care and Cubby Care Awards

Demonstrating the Core Concepts of Patient- and Family-Centered Care

At Penn State Health, we believe families are an extension of the patient and a partner in their care. This belief is at the center of our patient- and family-centered care model.

Family, as defined by the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, refers to two or more persons who are related in any way – biologically, legally or emotionally.

The Patient- and Family-Centered Care Advisory Councils created two awards to celebrate our staff  and faculty who embody the caring spirit of our team. Nominees may include anyone who had a direct or indirect impact on patients and families. Nominations for the awards are reviewed by the Patient- and Family-Centered Care Advisory Councils, and nominees are celebrated annually.

Criteria for the Lion Care and Cubby Care Awards

Nominees may be individuals or teams who demonstrate, provide and support patient- and family-centered care in some or all ways:

Dignity and Respect

  • Shows care and concern for the whole patient and family, not just for a single diagnosis
  • Connects with patients on their level
  • Demonstrates an investment in patients’ development or recovery
  • Fosters relationships based on respect between providers, patients and families

Information Sharing

  • Communicates in a clear manner, using terms that patients and families understand
  • Keeps the patient and family informed, involved in care planning and aware of programs and services, as needed
  • Is present during all conversations, is a good listener, speaks to the patient and family and provides prompt follow-up


  • Partners with and involves the patient and family as members of the care team
  • Encourages and supports patient and family participation in care and decision-making at whatever level they choose
  • Includes patient and family choices, observations and goals in the plan of care


  • Models behavior for others by introducing themselves, explaining their role in terms that can be understood and offering ways to be contacted by the patient and family
  • Advocates for and engages the patient and family to be active participants in planning care as a means to improving the care experience

How to nominate a staff member or team for the Lion Care or Cubby Care Award

Anyone can nominate someone for a Cubby Care or Lion Care Award. You can complete and submit the form online.

Submit a Nomination Today!