When we encouraged patients and their families to participate in their care, we started something that would fundamentally and philosophically revolutionize how health care is delivered. That’s because patient- and family-centered care is a partnership based as much on trust and empathy as it is on advanced technology, medical science and the art of patient care.
PFCC, a philosophy we hold dear, invites patients and families to become members of the health-care team, engaging them in every aspect of their health-care experience. PFCC advances communication among our faculty, staff, students, patients and families while building on the patient’s strengths and family’s knowledge.
We treat patients and families with dignity and respect; share clear and comprehensive information; encourage opportunities for participation; and ensure a collaborative planning process. We use these principles as building blocks to enhance our facilities; improve policies; bolster quality and safety; and recruit the most talented employees.
Perhaps our most valuable assets to PFCC are the more than 250 patient advisors who have volunteered to serve on committees throughout our colleges, hospitals and clinics. These advisors provide the vital input that helps us keep improving patient care.
When I first began this journey seven years ago, we already were internationally known for PFCC. Today, facilities across the globe look to us as the model in which PFCC is successfully practiced. We’ve trained health-care organizations from Arizona, California, New York, Kentucky, Canada and Europe – just to name a few.
We are celebrating Patient- and Family-Centered Care Month in October at GHS Medical Center. Activities included an Oct. 3 proclamation-signing ceremony by Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver and will include an Oct. 26 block party, with attendees including U.S. Rep. John Barrow. Our legislators and community leaders clearly grasp the importance and significance of PFCC. We hope you do as well.
(The writer is administrative director of patient- and family-centered care at Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center.)