UAB Medicine News
PFAC Member Spotlight: Candi Forbes
What led you to become a member of the UAB Medicine Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC)?
I had been a patient for routine checkups at UAB Medicine until four years ago, when I became extremely ill and experienced terrible pain. During a 19-day stay at UAB Hospital, I learned a lot about the power of teamwork and great medical care. After days of tests and numerous specialists, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, vasculitis GPA. But worse than that, I had the rarest form, neurologic.
About six months after being discharged from the hospital, I was looking around on the UAB Medicine website for ways to give back to the medical team that saved my life. While I was looking for places to donate monetarily, I bumped into the PFAC information. After reading what they were doing, I wanted to join! I applied, and in September of that year I attended my first meeting.
What did you hope to accomplish by joining the PFAC, and do you feel that you are achieving those objectives?
I have a bank operations consulting background, and while I was in the hospital, I noticed things that could be done better. These were not necessarily big things but improvements that could help the process and make things easier for patients.
Yes, I think the PFAC is continually making improvements. I believe we add the patient and family perspective that can get lost in a large organization. One of the things we have looked at on the council is the discharge paperwork given to patients. Management allowed us to have input on the order of the different parts and even discussed how information will be shared for follow-up appointments. This was one of the things I thought could be done better when I was discharged four years ago.
What are some projects or accomplishments on the PFAC that you are most proud of?
I am proud that we had input on the new Whitaker Clinic of UAB Hospital. We heard about the project and provided input when they were considering another location. We gave feedback on how the exam rooms were set up. A doctor and I sat in a mock exam room and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the setup, then we went to the next mock room to do the same. Management wanted to have our perspectives along with the doctors’ and nurses’. We gave input about even minor details, such as what music was played and where.
What additional information would you like others to know about the PFAC and UAB Medicine?
I went into the first PFAC meeting wondering if management really wanted to hear from us or whether we were a check box to say they did it. The past 3 1/2 years have taught me that they want to hear the truth. The management at UAB Medicine has embraced listening in order to improve. They want to be the best, and they understand the importance of our role in getting them there.
They believe in our importance to the organization enough to allow a PFAC member to speak at the Leadership Conference. And a PFAC member is the second speaker at UAB Medicine’s new hire orientation. If you want to make lasting changes at UAB Medicine, come join us. We are learning about the organization while they are making changes that help all of us who are receive care here.
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