October is Patient and Family Centered Care Awareness Month, and at the Newark and Wilmington campuses of Christiana Care, hospital staff and leaders took advantage of the month-long observance to expand initiatives that are transforming the patient experience.
“Patient and family centered care is an approach to the planning, delivery and evaluation of health care that is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among health care providers, patients and families,” said Janice Nevin, M.D., chief medical officer. Dr. Nevin championed patient and family centered care as senior vice president, Christiana Care Wilmington, when it formally launched in an October 2010 ceremony. “It recognizes the vital role that families play in the health care process, and it does this by restoring dignity and control to the patient and the patient’s family.”
The core concepts of patient and family centered care are:
- Respect and dignity.
- Information sharing.
These principles are behind initiatives in both hospitals, including:
- AIDET (acknowledge, introduce, duration, explanation and thank you): This communication tool ensures that patients and visitors feel welcome and at ease, and promotes open communication among families and hospital staff. (Watch a video about AIDET.)
- Bedside shift reporting: A standardized approach to hand-off communication that can ease patient anxiety and engage the patient and family in decision making.
- Hourly rounding: A practice that helps nurses and support staff to better anticipate and meet patient needs.
- Patient whiteboards: Shared communication tools that invite everyone involved in the patient’s care to communicate openly and clearly.
“Patients and their families have always been at the center of our care,” said Penny Seiple, vice president, Patient Care Services. “But it’s exciting to see the difference that these specific behaviors can make once staff begin to understand why a Patient and Family Centered approach is successful. When the transformation begins, you see happier patients and happier staff.”
Wilmington Hospital also has established a Patient & Family Advisory Council, in which former patients and family are enlisted to provide feedback and help staff develop and test new initiatives.
“Patient and family centered care is providing us with tools and new ways of thinking that will increase patient satisfaction and lead to better outcomes for our patients,” said Janet Cunningham, vice president, Professional Excellence, and associate chief nursing officer.