Hospital celebrates patient-centered care month and gratitude

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Patient-Centered Care Month is a special annual celebration at North Valley Hospital. In honor of the North Valley Hospital Planetree Philosophy of Patient-Centered Care, the hospital takes extra initiative to recognize and appreciate patients, the community, and the caregivers that are at the heart of the hospital’s approach to patient-centered care.

“The Planetree model of patient-centered care guides every single thing we do at North Valley Hospital,” explains Mary Sterhan, Senior Director of Quality, Planetree, and Compliance.

North Valley Hospital is celebrating 15 years as a Planetree affiliate, having been part of the international organization since 2002, and in the current building created with Planetree healing design since 2007. The Planetree organization is a worldwide network of hospitals and care centers that make a commitment to prioritize patient-centered care. There are 10 components of the Planetree philosophy, and every October, North Valley Hospital employees in all positions revisit these components to enrich the care they offer to patients.

The 10 Planetree components are: Human Interaction, Family, Friends and Social Support, Access to Information, Healing Environments, Food and Nutrition, Arts and Entertainment, Spirituality, Human Touch, Complementary Therapies and Healthy Communities.

North Valley Hospital addresses each of these components in unique ways that fit with the Whitefish and greater Flathead Valley community. From the noticeable healing design of the architectural structure to complementary therapies like massage to the open library for use by patients and families, the hospital has developed an approach to Planetree patient-centered care in a way that best serves the local community.

For Patient-Centered Care Month 2017, North Valley Hospital employees focused on gratitude. Gratitude of all types and origins was recognized as helping employees to be engaged and positive care givers. At the main hospital campus in Whitefish, a large chalkboard adorned the main entry way, where employees and patients wrote gratitude notes to each other.

“We encourage providers, employees and patients to seek out ways to express, accept, and recognize gratitude and the healing role it plays in our caring environment,” says Sterhan.

Some years, employees receive a gift during patient-centered care month to express gratitude from the hospital to employees. This year, employees requested to forgo the gift and instead purchase new patient gowns to provide a better patient experience. The new gowns are more modest and comfortable, and allow patients to feel more at ease while they are in the hospital.

In addition, the hospital followed an annual tradition of setting up a gratitude tree for employees to record notes from their personal lives that they are thankful for. Notes included recognition of co-workers, the friendly workplace, the lovely scenery in northwest Montana, and more.

While North Valley Hospital celebrates Patient-Centered Care Month for the month of October, the unique Planetree philosophy is an ingrained part of the hospital culture every day of the year. Hospital employees and staff are grateful to serve the Whitefish and Flathead Valley communities and are thankful for the continued community support.

Allison Linville handles marketing and community relations for North Valley Hospital.

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