Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
Our Commitment to Patient-Centered Care
The VA is undergoing a massive change in its approach to healthcare delivery for Veterans. Terms such as ‘patient-centered,’ ‘Veteran-centric,’ and ‘health promotion and disease prevention’ are now part of the VA’s lexicon. But just what do we mean by Veteran-centric or patient-centered care?
Within the VA, patient-centered care is a shift from being provider-centric to being Veteran-centric, where the Veteran is at the center of care. The focus is on optimizing the Veterans’ health, healing, and well-being by focusing on improving care in ten areas:
• Human Interactions
• Family, Friends, and Social Support
• Access to Information
• Healing Environments through Architectural Design
• Food and Nutrition
• Arts and Entertainment
• Human Touch
• Complementary Therapies
• Healthy Communities
Patient-centered care also considers the Veterans’ personal preferences and values, family situations, cultural traditions, and lifestyles; it keeps them informed and engaged throughout their treatment. The Veteran and family members become key members of the healthcare team and are active participants in making healthcare decisions.
To help further this transformation in healthcare delivery, each VA medical center has a Patient-Centered Care Committee (PCCC). At the Providence VA Medical Center, this committee is co-chaired by the Medical Center Director and the Chief of Voluntary Service. Each month, this multi-disciplinary group meets to discuss ways to enhance patient-centered care. PCCC has successfully implemented several patient-centered initiatives to improve access, customer service, and communication. For example:
• Valet service to ease parking congestion during on-going construction
• A Patient Transport System for both inpatients and outpatients
• Design of a CARE award to recognize employees and volunteers for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty in helping our patients and each other
• More consistent and up-to-date signage throughout the Medical Center
• Emergency call buttons in the parking lots on campus
• Patients are now discharged with all the equipment they need at the time of discharge, rather than having to come back the next day for the equipment
• Digital Signage Boards throughout the Medical Center to improve communication
A fruitful source of suggestions and ideas is our Veterans and staff. Recently, both Veterans and staff had reported that the frequency and volume of overhead paging throughout the hospital was very disruptive to the healing environment. The quietness of the hospital environment and the noise level in patient rooms are key customer satisfaction measures. As a result, committee members took this feedback seriously, did some homework, and undertook a concerted effort to reduce overhead paging. Now, overhead pages are pre-screened prior to approval, and the operators limit overhead pages to items of an urgent and/or necessary nature. Rob Reynolds, Telephone Operator Supervisor, states that his team has reduced overhead pages by 80%, which has greatly reduced unnecessary noise throughout the Medical Center, much to the liking of both patients and staff.
If you have suggestions for helping to make our Medical Center more Veteran-Centered, please fill out a comment card and place it in one of the many suggestion boxes throughout the Medical Center.
Together, we are making a difference!