Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Hospital has increased focus on patient care

By Kristen Suarez

BURLINGTON, VT— In the United States alone, millions of patients every year

are harmed in hospitals, while being treated. These errors can occur due to lack of

communication, spread of infection, and reactions from drugs along with other errors.

The Institute of Medicine reported that 98,000 people die in hospitals each year as a

result of medical errors that could have been prevented, according to two major studies

conducted in 2013.

In recent years, The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, is changing the

way Medicare pays for hospital care by rewarding hospitals for delivering services of

higher quality and higher values. Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers

and Systems, HCAHPS, has become increasingly important for hospitals all over the

United States. These surveys are used to measure patient’s perspectives on hospital care.

This is the first national standard for collecting or publicly recording patients’

perspective. The success of a hospital is now weighed heavily on these HCAHPS scores.

The University of Vermont Medical Center has created the Patient and Family

Centered Care Steering Committee to help improve hospital quality by working. This

committee aims to create mutually beneficial partnerships among health care, patients,

families, and providers. Members of this group include nursing, physicians, human

resources, the UVM Medical group, and UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

After attending a Patient and Family Centered Care conference Lisa Emerson:

Nurse Manager, Baird 5, recognized the importance of a PFCC and pushed to start the

committee. “I asked my mentor, if I were to really push for patient and family centered

care on Baird 5 what would that look like, what is the first thing I’d have to do? And she

said you need a patient and family centered advisory council, that’s the number one thing,

so she helped me get the ball rolling on that, and from there it just became what I talked

about all the time, it was what I felt very strongly about, like this is the only real way that

we can truly take care of our patients and families with the dignity and respect that they

deserve.” Emerson said.

“And so that was that, but then the organization started looking at the patient

experience, so HCAHPS, became a big thing, and our hospital scores were not that great,

and that really looks at the patients experience, rather than there satisfaction.”

Over the past two years a formal position has been created to focus on these

issues. Amy Cohen, Patient and Family Centered Care Project Manager, and Charlotte

Safran, Patient and Family Centered Car Coordinator work together at The University of

Vermont Medical Center towards improving patient and family centered care.

“I was working at a local non-profit called Vermont family network, and I learned

about a volunteer opportunity to be an advisor for the children’s hospital advisor

council,” Safran said. “I had some personal experience, my son Lincoln was in the

children’s hospital when he was 5 days old and continues to be followed up by

neurology, cardiology, and endocrinology and via that volunteer position I found out

about this grant funded position funded by the children’s miracle network.”

In addition to these positions, and PFCC, The UVM Medical Center has created a

Patient and Family Advisory Council. “My position is half time, and my co-worker Amy

Cohen and I felt that for me to focus on augmenting the number of patient and family

advisors we have on board so I try to connect with doctors nurses and community

members to really connect with families of patients who have used the children’s hospital

explain about our program and ask if they would like to serve as an advisor on a

volunteer basis.”

Dr. Kirsten Isgro, SUNY Plattsburgh professor, became of the Patient and Family

Centered Advisory Council after spending time in and out of the hospital with her

daughter. “The larger goal is to introduce, what does patient and family care look like

using the four pillars; collaboration, information sharing, participation, and dignity and

respect,” Isgro said. “Some of the things I’ve been called to is presenting at the pediatric

Grand Rounds for doctors, nurses, medical students, nursing students, and administration

at The Vermont Children’s Hospital sharing my own story about things that have gone

well things that have not gone so well.”

Recruiting Patient and Family give the hospital their perspective on policies,

programs, facility design, operations, and education. “I was able to sit in on a Patient and

Family Centered Advisory Meeting because I’m interning with UVM Medical Center

currently. It was nice hearing patients, and family members voice be heard, especially my

professor, Dr. Isgro.” Flora Veitch, SUNY Plattsburgh student/UVM intern, said.

The Patient and Family Centered Care Council work towards achieving

population health, reducing cost, and improving the patient’s experience. Implementing

culture change and the education plan will help caregivers move from doing “to” or “for”

to “with” patients and their families to work collaboratively. The hospital intends on

lifting traditional restrictive visitations to a welcoming all at any hour, along with a new

building for inpatient private rooms. HCAHPS has moved hospitals towards patient, and

family satisfaction, creating big change in hospitals all around the United States.

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