Greetings! My name is Charlotte Safran, and I am the Patient-and-Family-Centered Care Coordinator for the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. I am honored to be able to share information with our community regarding a new UVM Medical Center-wide strategic initiative called Patient- and Family- Centered Care.
The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital recognizes that patients and their families have valuable wisdom, advice, and experiences that may be used to improve the delivery, quality, and safety of health care. Therefore, as an organization we are dedicated to working in active partnership with patients and families to implement the four core principles of patient- and family-centered care. These foundational principles are:
- Dignity and Respect: Patient and family knowledge, values, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds are incorporated into the planning and delivery of care. Their perspectives and choices are listened to and honored in all phases of care.
- Information Sharing: Patients and families receive timely and accurate information in order to effectively participate in their care. Health care providers communicate and share complete and unbiased information with patients and families in ways that are affirming and useful.
- Participation: Patients and families are encouraged and supported to participate as integral members of their health care team.
- Collaboration: Patients and families are included on an institution-wide basis. Health care leaders collaborate with patients and families in policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation, in health care facility design, and in professional education, as well as in the delivery of care.
So, what does this all mean? It means that authentic relationships are created between patient/family advisors and health care providers. It means that the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital is committed to improving health care through actively listening and meaningfully incorporating the patient/family voice across all settings. It means the doctors, nurses, staff members, and leaders at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital are actively incorporating the ideas, perspectives, and experiences of patients and/or family members of patients into every aspect of the health care they provide.
How does it happen? It happens in many ways: patient/family advisors tell their stories in myriad settings, they participate in committee work, and they attend monthly meetings. Currently, the UVM Children’s Hospital has 28 patient/family advisors who are active participants in many healthcare improvement projects, including:
- Information sharing to inform best practices in the newly-created Emergency Department Pediatric Corridor;
- Review of website and educational materials for the Transgender Youth Program;
- Hosting community connection and education nights;
- Creation of inpatient pediatric educational material; and
- Collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team working on innovative pediatric to adult transition of care.
I am honored to have the opportunity to build relationships with the incredible physicians, nurses, families, and patients to intentionally improve patient care every day. If you are interested in learning more about this program, or would like to become a patient/family advisor, please contact me any time!
Charlotte Safran is the Patient and Family Centered Care Coordinator at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.