Valley View wins national award | AspenTimes.com

Valley View wins national award

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Valley View Hospital may need to do some remodeling. It may need a larger display area at the rate it keeps receiving awards.

The Glenwood Springs hospital is one of five hospitals nationwide and the only one in Colorado designated this month as a Planetree Patient-Centered Hospital for its ongoing efforts in making patient care the top priority. And this prestigious distinction has Valley View CEO Gary Brewer smiling.

“It’s about changing the culture of the hospital and making the patients’ comfort our first priority,” Brewer said. “This [award] tells us about the culture at the hospital, and it speaks volumes about the physicians, caregivers and support staff who work here.”

The program is based on core objectives Planetree affiliate hospitals set, focusing on patient care. Health care providers partner with patients and families to provide the best possible care while creating a more pleasant experience during their stay at the same time.

“It’s amazing the quality of staff that we have at Valley View,” Brewer said. “Once you create a great system, it’s easy for people in the community to buy in to that system, and that’s what we are trying to create here.”

Valley View adopted the Planetree model for patient-centered care in 1999 and has continued to implement strategies focused on patient care including patient comfort, dignity, empowerment and well-being. Brewer pointed out Valley View’s smaller waiting rooms and larger emergency room as some of the innovations that focus on patient care.

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“What we are doing is getting the patients into the rooms and not leaving them in the waiting room for any amount of time,” Brewer said. “It’s really about making their time at the hospital more comfortable.”

An important piece in the patient-satisfaction puzzle is creating a place where employees enjoy working as well. Brewer said happier employees help create a more comfortable environment for the patients.

“We’re trying to create an experience for the patient and the employees,” he said.

Designed to define excellence in patient-centered care, the designation criteria are based largely on direct patient feedback through patient satisfaction surveys, Brewer said. Planetree conducted hundreds of focus group sessions over the last several years in which patients across the country shared what is most important to them during hospitalization.

The Planetree model of patient care consists of 10 components: human interaction; access to information; family involvement; nutrition; healing environment; arts and entertainment; massage and caring touch; spirituality and diversity; integrative therapies; and healthy communities.

The three-year distinction is due for a review in 2010, at which time Valley View will have to go through the accreditation process once again. In that time, hospitals nationwide will be able to visit Valley View to see firsthand what measures the hospital has implemented in order to achieve the high standard of health care.

“This past year we’ve had three different hospitals come and visit to see how we do things,” Brewer said. “That is what this means, a lot of hospitals will be visiting these hospitals to get ideas on how to improve on patient care at their facility.”

Valley View also received, last year, the J.D. Power and Associates Distinguished hospital award for its excellent patient service. The company surveyed 300 Valley View patients, who gave it high marks in patient care. Also, the Joint Commission, a licensing and accrediting body for health-care providers, has awarded Valley View two special quality awards: the Hospital Quality Alliance Participant Award, and a new special category for the hospitals receiving the Patient-Centered Care designation from Planetree.

Other hospitals receiving the designation were: Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton, Va., Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles, Ore., and Sharp Coronado Hospital and Healthcare Center in Coronado, Calif.