Advisory Council Allow Clients to be Advocates

On a winter evening at Rushford’s Paddock Avenue location in Meriden, Ed Skiffington sat at a table as co-chair of the Rushford Client Advisory Council and got ready to call the group’s monthly meeting to order.

“I’m just trying to give back what was so freely given to me,” said Skiffington, a former Rushford client who now serves on the council as a way to advocate for clients now receiving care, and to offer support for Rushford caregivers and staff.

The Client Advisory Council at Rushford, made up of former and current clients, family members and staff, offers Rushford staff a way to gain first-hand insight on the needs of clients. Here is the team of employees who sit on the Rushford Client Advisory Council, from left: Mike Sienkiewicz, clinician at Stonehaven; Jahnel Mills, lead CSP/RP specialist; Caitlin Swartz, manager of customer service; and Greg Hogan, program coordinator ITP.

With that, Skiffington launched into a busy agenda that included discussions on ways to further enhance the level of care and empowerment that Rushford clients receive. Attending the meeting were eight active and former Rushford clients – including two newcomers – as well as Rushford counselors and clinicians. Among the agenda’s topics: the placement of additional suggestion boxes on Rushford sites as ways for clients to provide feedback on their care; and the development of a survey card for clients to fill upon discharge.

Scenes such as this will be increasingly more common across the Behavioral Health Network, as client advisory councils continue to evolve into their roles as unique sources of feedback and insight on the needs of clients.

“It’s a wonderful way to make sure we are hearing the voices of those we serve,” said Patricia Rehmer, MSN, ACHE, Hartford HealthCare senior vice president and president of the BHN. “It’s also a great experience for the former clients because they get to serve as a mouthpiece for those who are going through the same thing they went through.”

Help Rushford Help Others!

We are currently interviewing for membership on the Rushford Client Advisory Council.

The Rushford Client Advisory Council is a volunteer collaborative partnership between Rushford staff and our clients and their families, helping to make Rushford’s great client service even better.

We are seeking members from across Rushford’s programs, services and locations. The council meets once a month for 1.5 hours.

If you are a client or client family member who might be interested in providing ongoing constructive feedback about your experience at Rushford, we welcome you! For more information, please contact