Patient and Family Advisory Councils

Digestive Health

Mobility and Recovery are Key

The Digestive Health PFAC partnered with the Blodgett nursing team to bring the voice of the patient and family to several projects. There was a focus on readmission rates for patients having bariatric surgery as well as increasing the mobility of patients in a safe manner. Personalized care and learning what to expect from the start of the care journey was a constant theme throughout the recommendations.

Research shows that patients with increased mobility have a better recovery rate and are often discharged sooner. Erin Dejong, Nurse Manager, engaged the council on strategies to set expectations prior to surgery, engage the patient in a personalized approach and work with the patient on mobility after their surgery.

The patient has multiple touchpoints with the Bariatric clinic throughout their journey, ensuring that patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time. There was a discussion on what might prompt a patient to seek care in the emergency department and how a connection with the clinic team for follow up care may reduce the need for emergency visits and readmissions. Council members stressed the need for communication throughout the process and upon discharge.

Working with the Digestive Health PFAC has helped us truly understand the needs and concerns of our patients in a way that would not be possible without their direct input. This group has developed a cadence that promotes honesty, openness, collaboration, and fun, all focused on creating the best experience for our patients and families. We are fortunate to have such an engaged and innovative group as partners on our journey to provide the best patient care for all who we serve.

Dianna Webb, Director

Thanks to all of our Council Members:

Digestive Health Patient and Family Advisory Council Members

  • Cliff Kopp, Chair
  • Marti Alexander, Vice Chair
  • Amy Fathman
  • David Fathman
  • Michelle Geesin
  • Brian Horstman
  • Christine Kalinowski
  • Megan Lynch-Kornoelje
  • Lauren Nowak
  • Mike Rossman
  • Ben Wrigley

Spectrum Health Leadership

  • Brenda Goorhouse, Vice President
  • Michael Harrison, MD, Vice President, Department Chief
  • Martin Luchtefeld, MD, Division Chief
  • Andrew Shreiner, MD
  • Arida Siripong, MD
  • Dianna Webb, Director
  • Nardos Osterhart, Director
  • Erin Dejong, Nurse Manager
  • Deb Sprague, Improvement Specialist
  • Connie Hicks, Administrative Assistant

I appreciate that Spectrum Health leadership truly listens to the PFAC and is willing to consider improvements that we recommend making things better and smoother for the patients. To me, every meeting has been impactful because leaders and council members were able to have a better understanding of how things are seen from a different perspective.

Cliff Kopp, Chair

Members Highlight - David and Amy Fathman

Can you please share your or your family’s experiences with Spectrum Health?

We had never given a lot of thought about our health care. That changed in 2014 when David’s health spiraled out of control and we struggled to get a diagnosis or appropriate treatment as his condition worsened. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s decease, but not until after visiting five health systems in West Michigan and two out of state. His journey ended in a seven week stay at Blodgett Hospital, eventually finding one of the best gastroenterologists in the country through Spectrum Health. It was through these experiences that we grew to value and appreciate the Spectrum Health system and its pursuit of excellence.

What motivated you to be a part of the PFAC?

We have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of several health care systems and the many challenges that are associated with Crohn’s disease. We greatly value Spectrum Health and hope we can continue to add value to Spectrum Health’s continued efforts to provide the best care possible.

What PFAC accomplishments are you the proudest of?

We are still new to the PFAC community but hope between David’s intense and recent experiences as a patient and Amy’s journey as his advocate, wife and nurse, we are bringing valuable and unique perspectives to Spectrum Health.