Warming trend: How PFCC is improving the patient experience
For patients, a little thing can make a big difference. The Department of Patient & Family Centered Care took that to heart in recent weeks.
“The holidays are often a difficult time for patients,” said Molly White, the PFCC program manager for adult services. “It can get lonely when you know your family members are gathered together celebrating or exchanging gifts but you’re still getting treatment in the hospital.”
That’s why PFCC and hospital administrators came up with a plan to make adult patients feel more at home over the holidays. Working with various outside organizations, Michigan Medicine collected nearly 800 fleece blankets to be passed out by nurses on each floor.
“Giving every patient a blanket is something that has been done yearly at Mott,” White said of a program for pediatric patients supported by the nonprofit Fleece & Thank You. “But it had never been done on the adult side. Our office — along with members of the Michigan Medicine leadership team and our patient and family advisors — wanted to change that.”
White worked together with Child Life Specialist Byron Myers, who helped solicit donations for the blankets from Fleece & Thank You along with other organizations, and Unit Host Maureen Schuster, who helped develop a distribution plan.
White said the colorful collections brightened up patient rooms — and patients’ spirits — immediately. “Some of the patients were overwhelmed with joy when the blankets were brought around and others were even moved to tears,” she said. “It just meant a lot to our patients and gave them something fun to keep with them at all times — not to mention how comfortable they are.”
Indeed, the blankets serve a number of purposes. “For one thing, patients getting treatment often feel chilly, so the blankets help to keep them warm,” White said. “But maybe even more importantly, receiving a gift like this fosters an atmosphere of trust. It shows that patients are truly cared for in a personal way.”
White said the blankets are just one step in PFCC’s efforts to ramp up the patient experience at any Michigan Medicine facility.
“PFCC, in particular, is always looking at ways we can give patients comfort and respite,” White said. “So we’ve created advisory councils made up of patients and their families and we ask them what steps we can take to make a difference in their lives — to improve the safety and quality of their care as well as their experience in the hospital.”
PFCC is part of the newly-created Office of Patient Experience. This integrated office will focus on enhancing the patient experience through improved access to health care, better communication and courtesy and a more enriching environment — providing patients with comforts and options that help Michigan Medicine stand out among world-class health care facilities.
For White and her colleagues, creating new programs and gathering feedback from patients is a continuous process. “We’re always dedicated to doing more,” White said. “Our patients and families remind us that those little things are what truly count.”