Wife of heart transplant patient tells couple’s story

Patient and Family Centered Care Spotlight: Ralph and Bonnie Davis

Bonnie Davis

Bonnie Davis became a Patient and Family Centered Care Advisory Committee member after her husband Ralph received a heart transplant at the University of Michigan.

If you have ever been a patient or caregiver, then you’ve probably been faced with the uncertainty that comes with medical terminology and procedure. 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.

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. Bonnie Davis, on behalf of her husband, Ralph, has served on the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center Patient and Family Centered Care Advisory Committee for more than three years. Keep reading to learn about the Davis’ story, as told by Bonnie Davis.

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Patient & Family Advisory Board provides opportunity for input at the U-M Cancer Center

Laura Galunas and Anne Marshall meet with Karen Hammelef.

Laura Galunas and Anne Marshall meet with Karen Hammelef about the Patient & Family Advisory Board.

On the day of her first appointment at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Anne Marshall remembers pulling into the parking lot, nervous and afraid. She had been to the center many times before with her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006; but pulling into the circle drive felt different when the breast cancer diagnosis was her own.

 

Then she met Cleon Abrams, a longtime parking attendant at the Cancer Center.

“I was surprised he remembered me,” said Marshall, who is a social worker. “He just had this perfect smile and said, ‘Be encouraged.'”

Those two words made all the difference to Marshall. Not only did they give her the boost she needed at that moment, but it led her to become more engaged in the Cancer Center and its efforts to provide the ideal patient care experience.

Recently, Marshall was a member of a task force to establish bylaws for the Cancer Center’s new Patient & Family Advisory Board. The board is designed to offer patients and families a formal role in providing input into the institution’s initiatives and operations. Continue reading