Cultivating a healthcare environment that welcomes loved ones and recognizes that family and friends’ involvement enhances healthcare delivery and patient safety is fundamental to the patient-centered approach that characterizes the Planetree model of care. For that reason, President Barack Obama’s order calling for HHS to draft a rule to ensure that hospitals do not deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability (April 19, p. 4) is applauded.
Hundreds of patient focus groups conducted by Planetree over the past several years paint a vivid picture of what patients want from their providers. They’re relieved and comforted when their loved ones are not only welcomed to be with them, but also encouraged to be another set of eyes and ears to ensure their needs are met.
Planetree, and virtually all of its 250 healthcare affiliates, defines a visitor as anyone the patient determines is significant to their wellbeing and whose presence would enhance their hospitalization. Patient-centered hospitals allow unrestricted, patient-directed visitation, which has been shown to decrease patients’ anxiety, lower rates of cardiac complications and increase comfort and patient satisfaction. The aim of patient-centered healthcare organizations is to personalize, humanize and demystify the patient experience, knowing that each patient’s circumstances are unique and should be respected. It is only the patient who should choose who visits and when.
Susan Frampton President Planetree Derby, Conn.