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.”
Patient and Family-Centered Care Works
Children's Hospital of Georgia was built utilizing a comprehensive Patient- and Family-Centered
Care model. Since its opening in December 1998, the Children's Hospital of Georgia
has consistently ranked in the top 10 percent of the Press Ganey national database
for pediatric hospitals.
When Augusta University redesigned its Breast Health Center, the results were evident.
Faculty, administration and front line employees embraced planning with experienced
breast health patients and family members at the table. As a result, the Breast Health
Center saw its patient satisfaction scores move from the 40th percentile (April 2003)
to the top 10 percent of the Press Ganey national data base of test and treatment
services (June 2006).
Our Neuroscience Adult Inpatient Unit was totally redesigned with full participation
of patients and families. As a result, the unit has seen improvements in their patient
satisfaction scores. Augusta University's philosophy of Patient- and Family-Centered
Care aims to give patients choices, tools and a voice to speak up and become full
partners in their own health care. “Our organization is committed to this philosophy
and to the benefits and improvements in care it offers to our patients,” said Ms.
To learn more about Patient- and Family-Centered Care, please call 706-721-6838.