Each month, we will feature one of our advisors from the New England QIN-QIO Patient and Family Advisory Council.
This month, meet Peggy Crawford from Maine.
Why did you want to join the New England QIN-QIO Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC)?
During my years as a healthcare professional, first as a pediatric nurse and then for more than 25 years as a clinical health psychologist, I worked primarily with individuals and families living with the many challenges of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. I learned a lot from people about how to live well despite illness. Many of these resilient people became my role models as they demonstrated courage and persistence in the face of medical and emotional threats. I was impressed with people getting up every day and doing what they needed to do to take care of themselves and their family. I am also impressed with people who acknowledge their struggles and need for assistance with educating themselves about their illness, adhering to complicated treatment regimens, developing more effective coping strategies, and empowering themselves to advocate on their own behalf in our often-overwhelming healthcare system.
My professional experience prepared me to some extent to serve as the primary support partner for my husband (also a healthcare professional) during our 18-month experience with his pancreatic cancer. Although I’ve always appreciated the special roles and responsibilities of support partners and care takers, our experience has heightened my sensitivity to and concerns about these issues. After my husband’s death, I still wanted to make use of my knowledge and experience to advocate for patients and families and educate them and providers about the need for mutually respectful relationships and empathic communication.
During my Spectrum Generations training to become a facilitator of self-management programs for people with chronic illnesses and diabetes more specifically, I had the chance to meet and train with some of the Healthcentric Advisors staff members. I was immediately impressed with their energy, passion, and camaraderie. When they approached me about becoming a PFAC member, it was easy to say, “Yes.” Not only would this provide more opportunities to work with like-minded professionals, but the PFAC seemed like a great way to pursue my own passions and give back to my new community.
What types of projects/activities have you been working on as a PFAC member?
As an advisor on the New England QIN-QIO PFAC, I’m involved in a number of projects and activities. I participate on the Discharge Planning sub-group where we review available tools and provide feedback to QIN-QIO staff. I’ve also reviewed a Chronic Pain Tool Kit and edited COPD video scripts for inhaler videos. Recently, I joined the Reducing Unnecessary Medications sub-group where we will review and provide feedback on the development of an informational tools for patients and families.
What do you like about the projects/activities you are working on or have been involved with? How do you feel you are making an impact?
The issues we’re addressing are relevant to a large number of people so the potential impact is significant. Specific goals are identified for each project so there is a sense of direction and purpose. Mutual respect is shown for people’s experience, input, effort and opinions so the process itself feels positive. In addition, I’ve already had the chance to work with a number of people both locally and throughout New England so it feels like my own support network is growing.