From April 14 to April 18, I attended the Institute of Patient and Family Centered Care intensive training course. I was alerted to this conference by my colleague Lisa Freeman. I was unfamiliar with this approach to healthcare, but I had attended a very nice presentation by Bev Johnson, Director , for the Patient Centered Medical Home practices here in Maine. She is a brilliant and kind teacher. She recognizes that Patients and their families must partner with providers to improve healthcare. So, I knew that at least Bev’s involvement in this organization would make this training worthwhile.
I have been involved in Patient safety advocacy and activism for over 4 years now. I belong to and affiliate with different organizations and I attend meetings, conferences, online webinars, phone conference calls, PLUS, I read everything I can get my hands on about Patient Safety. The solutions are out there to make healthcare safer, better, and cheaper. I know the problems and the negatives in Healthcare, but I also know that healthcare can be an miraculous cure for what ails you. I have definite ideas about solutions for problems, but the quandary has always been…How do we get there?
The IPFCC training taught me how. We include patients and families in every aspect of care, from the primary care office through discharge from the Hospital and into post Hospital care, whether it is in LTC, rehab, or at home. Partnering WITH patients through out the journey of care is absolutely essential. Patient and family advisory councils at every level are necessary. TOs and FORs are removed from conversations regarding patients and families and in their place we put WITH.
I was skeptical. What exactly is accomplished when providers partner with patients and honor them and their families? These are the measurable improvements that I heard about this week.
1. Reduction in HAIs (my initial reason and primary focus for doing this work!)
2. Reduction of medication and medical errors
3. Reduction of Hospital readmissions
4. Improvement of HCAPS numbers, improved Patient Satisfaction
5. Improvement of Healthcare outcomes.
6. Reductions of costs.
7. Elimination of Visiting Hours. Family members are partners, not visitors. Ability of all patients to have a 24 hours bedside advocate.
8. Increased honor and respect of patients and patient dignity.
9. Improved employee satisfaction and improved employee retention.
10. Patient Portals to Electronic Records and how to use them.
11. Addresses all 3 arms of the IHI Triple Aim.
This is the short list. I heard stories of success, from patients and patient advisers, and from Hospital administrators, providers and workers. I learned that this work is not easy, but it is worth every minute of effort. It is an approach that is inclusive of everyone involved and affected by healthcare in a collaborative partnership.
Now what? I plan to tell my colleagues at the Maine Quality Counts Consumer Advisory Council about my training. I hope to mobilize them and MQC to do a survey of Maine Hospitals and to assess where Maine is at in PFCC. How many Patient and Family Advisory councils do we have in Maine, and are they honored, valued and included in the work of caring for patients? Then we will go from there. I has to happen. I hope that it will happen very soon. We need the change. We need to do whatever it takes to make patients safer, control costs, and preserve our ability to access care.
Last week I attended the Maine Quality Counts annual conference about achieving the Triple Aim in Maine. This week I connected some big ole dots on how to do the work.