Imagine a hospital that invites families to stay with their loved ones 24/7, even
in the intensive care unit. Or a hospital that involves patients and families in formulating
policy to ensure that patients’ needs and concerns are met. Or a hospital that redesigns
its physical structure with patients at the table, collaborating with architects,
physicians, nurses and others.
This type of philosophy is known as Patient- and Family-Centered Care, and it is a
trend that is being recognized and embraced by hospitals across the United States.
Patient- and Family-Centered Care involves truly partnering with patients and families,
not only involving them in decisions about their care, but also gaining the benefit
of their help and insights to better plan and deliver care, and evaluate that care.
The health system at Augusta University is recognized as a pioneer in Patient- and Family-Centered
Care by the American Hospital Association and the Institute for Family-Centered Care.
Augusta University began practicing Patient and Family-Centered Care in 1993 when
it involved patients and family members in the planning and architectural design of
its Children's Hospital of Georgia. Since that time, numerous other efforts that reflect
Patient- and Family-Centered Care have been initiated.
Patients’ perspectives were incorporated in the redesign of several areas in the adult
hospital, including the mammography area of Medical Center at Augusta University Breast
Health Services, a PET/CT unit and a Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit, as examples. The
redesign of these units created warm and welcoming spaces to help increase patient
comfort, privacy and convenience.
“Patient and Family-Centered Care asks us to empower patients and families so they
are aware, knowledgeable and actively engaged in their own health care,” said Pat
Sodomka, former senior vice president of Patient- and Family-Centered Care at Augusta
University. “What we’ve learned since we started this journey in 1993 is that when
we involve patients and families, quality of care improves. It’s really that simple.”