Patient-Family Centered Care
In early 2007, Cooper University Hospital’s Board of Trustees and senior leadership reviewed our organization’s mission and vision. It was agreed that patient-centered, family-focused care should be reflected in the vision so it was changed to read: Cooper University Hospital will be the health care leader in the Delaware Valley, providing exceptional medical care and service for every patient, every day in a patient-centered, family focused environment.
For more than a year, a team of staff and senior leaders explored philosophies and approaches that would best support our organization in achieving our vision of providing higher levels of patient and family-centered care. After much investigation, it was agreed that Cooper would become a Planetree Affiliate hospital utilizing the Planetree philosophy – personalizing, humanizing and demystifying the patient and family healthcare experience – and its ten organizing components to structure our vision. The ten core components focus on:
- Human Interactions
- Healing Environment
- Nutritional & Nurturing Aspects of Food
- Access to Information
- Importance of Friends, Family and Social Support
- Spirituality: The Importance of Inner Resources
- Human Touch
- Healing Arts
- Complementary Therapies
- Healthy Communities
Cooper University Hospital's Commitment to Patient-Family Centered Care
- A patient is an individual to be cared for, not a medical condition to be treated.
- Each patient is a unique person with diverse needs.
- Each staff member is a caregiver, whose role is to meet the needs of each patient.
- Our patients are our partners and have knowledge that is essential to their care.
- Our patients’ family and friends are also our partners in our patients’ well-being, and we welcome their involvement.
- Access to understandable health information is essential to empower patients to participate in their care, and it is our responsibility to provide access to that information.
- The opportunity to make decisions is essential to the well-being of our patients. It is our responsibility to maximize patients’ opportunities for choices and to respect those choices.
- Our patients’ well-being can be enhanced by an optimal healing environment.
- In order to effectively care for our patients, we must also care for each other.
- Patient-Family Centered Care is the core of a high-quality healthcare system and a necessary foundation for safe, effective, timely and equitable care.
Spreading the Word to Our Employees
The Planetree approach is to involve employees in every role and at every level of the organization as active participants in the transformation to patient and family-centered care. Every employee is considered a “caregiver”—to patients, families and each other. Because of this, our first step was to communicate with all employees about our organizational vision and commitment to use the Planetree approach.
During the last week of May 2007, Planetree consultants joined our senior executives in hosting 30 informational sessions for 1,695 staff and leaders at various locations throughout the organization. Of the attending employees, 57% indicated that the philosophy was “very relevant” or “mostly relevant” to their work. In addition, 65% said that the Planetree approach fit “very well” or “mostly well” in our culture at Cooper. In the weeks and months that followed, Diane Flaherty, Director of Patient-Family Centered Care, held additional information sessions particularly for employees at off-site locations and during evening shifts. By the end of the summer of 2007, nearly 2,500 employees were introduced to the Planetree philosophy and Cooper’s commitment to patient and family-centered care.
In June 2007, shortly following our educational sessions, Planetree consultants conducted a four day site visit. Firstly, to assess Cooper’s current state in meeting Planetree’s 10 core components, and secondly, to make recommendations on how Cooper should move forward with its organizational transformation.
During their visit, they conducted focus groups with employees, volunteers, physicians and former patients to gain insight on the overall Cooper experience from their various perspectives. Overall, the comments made by patients and family members were positive. One patient stated that we “seem to be on cue” with the care we give and remarked that they “like the programs” we have to offer them. Another patient felt as though the “nurses and techs are really amazing.” Similarly, staff also had a lot of positive things to say about Cooper citing that they enjoy benefits such as tuition assistance, employee activities and opportunities for growth.
Through the organizational assessment, we learned about the areas in which we excel with regard to the Planetree philosophy and also received suggestions on areas for improvement. Some of our strengths included: our community health programs; our efforts to gain feedback from patients, employees and physicians via surveys; The Dr. Diane Barton Complementary Medicine Program; and our commitment to a culture of safety for both patients and employees.
Care with Compassion
|“Percussion” as illustrated by Mrs. Owens’ third graders at Yorkship school. Presented by Camden’s Art Aware Program.|
The most important of the 10 Planetree components is “Human Interactions” – the way we treat our patients, families and each other. Cooper’s training and development department introduced a service-oriented skill-building program, developed by nationally renowned healthcare service consultant Wendy Leebov, “Care with Compassion.” Funded through a generous grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor, the program focuses on the skills in three key interactions–greetings, handoffs and goodbyes. In early November, at the quarterly Leadership Development Institute meeting, our top 120 leaders were introduced to the “Care with Compassion” program which highlighted management’s role in leading staff in the use of these skills.
We are offering a three-hour session to managers and supervisors to introduce them to the skills and their roles in role modeling and holding staff accountable for the use of these skills. By the end of 2007, more than 220 leaders participated in the training and the program will continue with staff and leaders in 2008. We expect that more than 2,000 employees will participate in this training.
In addition, our training and development department will introduce a grant-funded program called “Leading Planetree in Your Area.” This will support leaders at all levels in engaging their staff at the department and unit levels in generating and implementing ideas to make their areas more patient, family or employee-centered.
Our Future of Patient-Family Centered Care
While 2007 and 2008 have been exciting and productive years towards becoming an organization that consistently provides patient-centered, family-focused care, our plans for the coming months and years are even more exciting.
Some of the items planned include:
- Formation of a patient-advisory board
- Fundraising events to raise money for both patient and employee initiatives
- Enhanced employee recognition programs
- Physician recognition
- Revamped employee of the month program
- Musicians in lobbies and waiting areas
- Initiatives focusing on Spirituality
- Implementation of Complementary therapy programs for inpatients
- Partnership with Art Aware program
- Noise reduction pilot
- CSA program for organic produce
- Initiatives creating a healing environment such as the design of a healing garden
- Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month activities
Ideas to move our transformation forward come from you. Please help us to make Cooper the most patient centered, family focused hospital in the nation.
If you would like more information regarding Patient-Family Centered Care or the Planetree philosophy, please contact Christina Y. Smith, MSN, RN, CPN, NE-BC, Director of Patient & Family Centered Care, at (856) 968-7857 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.