What is patient and family centered care?

U-M professor Dwight Lang joins Patient Family Advisory Council to share story with others

Dwight's photoIf you have ever been a patient or caregiver, then you’ve probably been faced with the uncertainty that comes with encountering unfamiliar medical terminology and procedures. In fact, it might have seemed like your doctor barely discussed your surgery with you or didn’t allow time for your family to ask questions about your options. For most patients and family members, this makes the medical process rather intimidating.

Fortunately, healthcare is moving away from this patient-directed approach and shifting toward a patient-centric model. Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) is a healthcare approach that works to remove the barriers between medical professional and medical patient by truly valuing the concerns, opinions and voices of patients and their families.

“Nothing about me, without me” guiding principle for patient-centered care

The “Nothing about me, without me” slogan has been recently introduced as the guiding principle for patient-centered care at the University of Michigan, where PFCC programs act as forums for patients and families to share their personal experiences with faculty and staff. Additionally, the University of Michigan Health System has established numerous Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) throughout hospital departments. Dwight Lang is an active volunteer in numerous PFAC programs. Keep reading to learn about his story.

Dwight Lang teaches in the Sociology department at the University of Michigan. He and his wife, Sylvia, enjoy a healthy lifestyle, which has included long walks around the U of M campus and following the FDA recommendations for reducing refined sugars, saturated fat intake and red meat consumption. Dwight considers himself a “healthy” individual and has been a jogger since the late 1970s. He never felt the symptoms of heart disease until his heart attack on May 17, 2010. Over the course of 18 hours, doctors and nurses at the University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center diagnosed his heart condition and performed an emergency triple bypass that saved Dwight’s life.

Dwight Lang’s story: From heart surgeons to exercise physiologists, “Everyone helped me to gain insight”

“I was in CVC for surgery and then the CVC Intensive Care Unit for four days. I transferred to floor 4C at the hospital for four additional days of recovery. I met my surgeon — Dr Richard Prager — for the first time on the morning of May 18, just before my surgery. Dr. Prager was excellent and explained the bypass procedure to my family and me. He answered questions from my wife that morning and was very helpful in subsequent visits during the immediate recovery period. Dr. Claire Duvernoy, one of the doctors who performed the catheterization procedure, is my cardiologist at Domino’s Farms and has been helpful all along the way. Cheryl Bord, the nurse practitioner who works with Dr. Duvernoy, has also been very supportive and informative regarding ongoing recovery and health maintenance issues. In addition, the exercise physiologists at Cardiac Rehab provided and continue to provide invaluable support and information about the nature of my heart disease. Everyone has helped me to better understand and gain insight.” As a result of his increased awareness of heart health, Dwight says that he and his wife have “shifted to a whole-foods, plant-based diet.”

Involvement with Frankel CVC Patient and Family Advisory Council helps patient to share story with others

Dwight Lang is the first member of the Cardiovascular Center’s Patient and Family Advisory Council to be featured on the Frankel Cardiovascular Center Blog. As Dwight lists doctors and nurses who helped him along his road to recovery, it’s easy to understand why he has become so invested in various PFACs at the University of Michigan Health Center. In order to share his story with other patients and inform University of Michigan employees how to make patients’ time in the hospital easier, Dwight is actively involved in two other Patient and Family Centered Care committees at the Cardiovascular Center: The Intensive Care Unit committee and Cardiac Rehabilitation committee.

“I am happy to be part of CVC’s efforts to make PFCC a vital part of how doctors, nurses and other hospital staff interact with patients and their families during critically important times,” Dwight says.


University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Logo - blueThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit the Heart and Vascular page on UofMHealth.org.