On Nov. 21, nurses and staff of the Wilmington Hospital intensive care unit (WICU) gathered to meet Rae Burton and Michael Gervay, among the first of approximately a dozen advisers from the Wilmington Patient and Family Advisory Council to be paired with specific hospital units.
“We’re excited to welcome you to our team,” said Dannette Mitchell, RN, who has coordinated many of the patient and family centered care initiatives at the Wilmington campus. “This is an opportunity for us to build on all of the work we’ve been doing around patient and family centered care. It’s about ‘how can we do things better?'”
Burton and Gervay both have experienced Wilmington Hospital ICU as they cared for loved ones in the hospital–Burton, her husband; and Gervay, his father. Along with the other patient and family advisers, they are volunteers who are engaged in a process of learning about how the hospital functions and providing their perspective as patient advocates.
“It is a very exciting time in health care delivery,” says Donna Casey, RN, nurse manager of the Wilmington ICU. “We are at a crossroads. Doctors and nurses are focusing less on what works best for us and more on developing systems that deliver care in ways that are best for our patients. This includes holding interdisciplinary rounds and nursing shift report at the bedside, and including the patient and family. Our advisers are an important step to helping us understand how we impact those that we care for.
“The most eye-opening revelation for me thus far was an adviser whose father had been moved from a semi-private room to a private room. The adviser told her mother that she was very afraid because the reason they were moved – she thought – was because patients are moved to private rooms who are expected to die. Of course, this wasn’t the case.
“There are so many things that we do in health care that we assume are self-evident. Our advisers are helping us to re-engineer how we deliver the best care to our patients.”