Patient, Family/Caregiver Advisory Council (PFAC)
Co-Designing Health and Social Service Care in South Georgian Bay
Meet the local residents informing healthcare in South Georgian Bay. These are the members of the PFAC.
Anyone can join, and all are welcome.
Meet PFAC Chair, Abbie Devnick
Abbie is the chair of the SGB OHT PFAC. In this role, she participates in monthly meetings with members of the group and brings the PFAC member voice and perspective to others in the SBG OHT, including the bi-weekly Collaboration Council meetings, where OHT partners work collaboratively on the shared priorities of the SGB OHT, and the Mental Health Collaborative meetings.
Abbie is very passionate about bringing forward lived experience and seeing the systemic changes that this creates in improving patient, family, and caregiver experiences. She is also very passionate about bringing more awareness to gaps in supports for Mental Health and Addictions services but also advocating for the importance of the voices of those with lived experience in anything health care-related.
“It’s so important that health care professionals work collaboratively with people with lived experience in order to find areas of improvement and to co-design solutions to improve the health care system more broadly,” says Abbie. “I feel that it’s necessary to share my voice and the voices of others and bring up the importance of inclusion of our PFAC in everything that the SGB OHT does.”
What excites Abbie most about this group is that members’ voices are really heard.
“Everyone is able to share and discuss their experiences openly and bring up any and all of their concerns,” says Abbie. “We have a lot of diversity in the group which allows for very rich conversations.”
Meet PFAC Member, Kathryn Bloomfield
Kathryn Bloomfield has been with the SGB OHT PFAC since it began. She joined on behalf of Breaking Down Barriers where she was the Executive Director and then a Board Member. Mostly though she says she joined because she “has a real thing about health care not understanding people with disabilities and specifically people who use wheelchairs.” Kathryn wants to educate those working in healthcare and advocate for those with disabilities so that everyone in the community feels comfortable accessing care.
“I think it’s important on both sides. I think that the medical profession needs to understand the patient view and the patients need to understand the medical view. It’s a two-way street,” says Kathryn.
She encourages others to join the group as well so that there are different voices at the table.
“It’s important because we all have different experiences, like me growing up with my disability versus someone who has a spinal cord injury, we’re both in wheelchairs but the experience is different,” says Kathryn. “The PFAC group is very positive. Everyone is open to listening to everyone else. I really like that. I think it’s important that if you’re in that person’s shoes a little more it makes their point of view easier to understand.”
Meet PFAC Member, Candy Milczynski
Candy Milczynski has been involved with the SGB OHT PFAC since the group was formed. Since then, she says there has been a lot of learning about what the expectations and mandate for Ontario Health Team are and how we, in South Georgian Bay, can take that direction and make it relevant to healthcare in our area, while recognizing diverse populations and their specific needs.
Candy believes that working on current and future healthcare is critical as our population ages and the government tries to decide where to spend their healthcare resources.
“With the shortage of doctors and diagnostic and rehab facilities in our area, we need to maximize the potential of the resources that we have and identify where additional resource are required to meet the health needs of the people in South Georgian Bay,” says Candy. “I would encourage others to get involved in the PFAC because if we do not work together to build the new vision of healthcare, we have no right to complain.”
For Candy, it’s important to be informed because it helps you make better decisions related to healthcare for yourself, your family and your neighbours.
“We have to work our way from where we are now, to where we want to be in the future. And the more diversity of opinions that are considered, the better that future will be,” she adds.
She says her favourite part of being a member of the PFAC is working with people dedicated to making things better in the future.
Meet PFAC Member, Sheila Koss
Sheila is a member of the PFAC. She joined the group because she feels that all citizens have a right to voice their opinion regarding health and wellness not only for themselves but for their community as a whole.
“Since the development of the Ontario Health Teams, I feel that we, as a group, have made valuable suggestions that have been well received,” says Sheila. “I look forward to participating in discussing future innovative possibilities that could further enhance the health and wellness of all residents of South Georgian Bay.”
Sheila and other members of the PFAC have been meeting via Zoom due to COVID restrictions and she looks forward to meeting again in person when possible.
Join the PFAC today!
Your insights will help shape the future of health and social service care in South Georgian Bay.