Spreading confidence and trust

UCHealth advisory councils way for former patients, families to have their voices heard, support the patient experience.
April 27, 2017

From his upbringing to his experiences as a young man in the military, the importance of confidence and trust in another has become a principle for Doug Kettelson.

“They are big words that hold a lot of weight,” Kettelson said.

Never were those principles more important than they were five years ago, when Kettelson had his first stroke and found himself at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland. Having a stroke is frustrating, and Kettelson admitted that he probably wasn’t the ideal patient. “My own dog probably would have avoided me,” he said.

A week after his first stroke, Kettelson had another one. This time it affected his speech.

“It was so frustrating,” he said. “I could form a thought in my head, but I couldn’t get it out. Everyone here (at MCR) was so patient waiting for me to speak. I could see the stress on my wife’s (Dianne) face. So many times it’s not the patient suffering but the family. Dianne was taken care of just as well as I was.”

At MCR, he saw the principles he cherishes – confidence and trust in one another – from care givers. As a way to show his gratitude and ensure that all patients have a similar experience, Kettelson and his wife joined MCR’s Patient and Family Advisory Council.

PFAC’s mission is to promote and support patient- and family-centered values by personalizing, humanizing and demystifying the health care experience. PFAC members help UCHealth realize its goal of patient-centric care by involving patients and their families in processes and communications.

“They help us live out one of our values: patients first,” said Isaac Sisneros, UCHealth’s patient experience program manager for northern Colorado.

Four people are pictured at an event during a Patient Centered Care Awareness month activity.
From left, Dianne and Doug Kettelson, members of the MCR Patient and Family Advisory Council, with registered nurse Tara Shaw, UCHealth’s manager of Cancer Care in northern Colorado, and MCR Chaplain Don Orwick during October’s Patient Centered Care Awareness month.

There are PFACs throughout UCHealth’s hospitals, including a few unit-specific councils, such as that of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Poudre Valley Hospital. That newly formed council was instrumental in the new design of the NICU, which opened in early 2016 and almost tripled in size. The council provided vital feedback to improve experiences for families of UCHealth’s tiniest patients, such as the addition of milk storage refrigerators and sinks in each room.

Former patients and their families represent about two-thirds of each PFAC, while the other third is made up of staff. They all share the common goal: to include the patient and family perspective and positively impact the patient experience.

“As a community member of our PFAC, you represent the voice of the patient,” said Kelli Dunn, registered nurse and chair of the MCR PFAC. “You have an opportunity to share unique perspectives and valuable feedback regarding the patient experience. Your voice makes a difference.”

Stop by an UCHealth hospital to learn more about how you can participate in a patient-family-centered council.


About the author

Kati Blocker has always been driven to learn and explore the world around her. And every day, as a writer for UCHealth, Kati meets inspiring people, learns about life-saving technology, and gets to know the amazing people who are saving lives each day. Even better, she gets to share their stories with the world.

As a journalism major at the University of Wyoming, Kati wrote for her college newspaper. She also studied abroad in Swansea, Wales, while simultaneously writing for a Colorado metaphysical newspaper.

After college, Kati was a reporter for the Montrose Daily Press and the Telluride Watch, covering education and health care in rural Colorado, as well as city news and business.

When she's not writing, Kati is creating her own stories with her husband Joel and their two young children.