September 2010

Hospitals and Communities

Moving Forward with

Patient- and Family-Centered Care

An Intensive Training Seminar ~

Partnerships for Quality and Safety


November 1-4, 2010 • Pinehurst Resort

Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina

Changing Hospital Practices and Policies on Visiting and Family Presence
Spectrum Health System: Supporting Family Presence
North Carolina Seminar Offers Multiple Learning and Networking Opportunities
Institute Celebrates its 50th Webinar
IHI Scholarhsips for First Leadership Summit for Patient Activists and Partners in Quality and Safety
Institute for Patient- and
Family-Centered Care
7900 Wisconsin Ave, Suite 405
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
P: 301 652-0281
F: 301 652-0186
Changing Hospital Practices and Policies on Visiting and Family Presence

President Barack Obama addressed the issue of visiting in hospitals in an April 2010 memo to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Current "visiting" policies in many of our nation's hospitals, even for traditionally defined "families," are inappropriately restrictive, costly, put patients at risk, and contribute to emotional suffering for both the patient and family, even if administered without a trace of discrimination (Lee, et. al., 2007; Spuhler, 2007). Not only is it vital to enact change as President Obama has outlined, including how families are defined, it is also imperative to transform the restrictive policies and practices of many of our nation's hospitals (Berwick & Kotagal, 2004).

Fundamental change is necessary to move away from the current prevailing view that families are visitors. To achieve this, the family must be "respected as part of the care team—never visitors—in every area of the hospital, including the emergency department and the intensive care unit" (Leape et al., 2009, p. 426).

As well as changing the language typically used in "visiting" polices, it is equally important to revise many of the rules and practices that limit the times and places families and other "partners in care" are able to provide support. For a number of years, The Joint Commission has recommended that patients bring a family member or trusted friend with them to the hospital as a safety strategy (McGreevey, 2006).

Recently, the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care formed a working group composed of health care leaders, staff, and patient/family advisors, all with expertise in patient- and family-centered care, to develop a set of guidelines with respect to changing hospital "visiting" policies and practices. Their recommendations are found in the accompanying document, in addition to specific comments regarding restrictions on visitation rights, and the format, style, and language used in policies and procedures. 


The Institute's website has samples of hospital policies and guidelines that support and encourage family presence and participation and view families as allies for quality and safety, not "visitors."  Be sure to visit this exciting new Visiting/Family Presence section on the Institute's website.

Spectrum Health System: Supporting Family Presence

Spectrum Health, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, engages patients and families to help improve all aspects of their health care experience. According to Kris White, Vice President of Innovation and Patient Affairs, “Patients and their families are at the center of the care continuum—before, during, and after hospitalization.”

In 2004, the Spectrum Health Hospital Group executive leadership team designed a culture of excellence committed to improving care from the patient's perspective. The organization is dedicated to empowering patients and families through understanding the experience of care, sharing information, and encouraging true partnerships with caregivers.  

In 2006, the health system went one step further and embarked on an astounding culture change. Hospital leadership, with support, advice, and participation from the Patient and Family Advisory Council, established a fifty-member team to move away from “visiting hours” and established policy and processes to encourage and manage “family presence” and participation in care.  

How They Made It Happen
Spectrum Health made a commitment to collaborative relationships and included family presence in all aspects of care as an ongoing strategic focus. Leadership engaged everyone in the organization in changing the antiquated and restrictive “visiting” policy to a family presence policy.  Read More....

North Carolina Seminar Offers Multiple Learning and Networking Opportunities

The Hospitals and Communities Moving Forward with Patient- and Family-Centered Care intensive training seminar offered at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, November 1-4, 2010, provides a wealth of opportunities and learning experiences. In addition to plenary sessions, topical sessions, breakout sessions, and video theatre, the seminar includes time for participants to work in small groups with an assigned faculty advisor. For more information on faculty members see the Seminar Brochure.

During small group meetings, teams will meet with faculty advisors, get to know others who are also effecting change within hospitals and health care organizations, and discuss the practical application of patient- and family-centered care in their everyday practice. They will share learning goals and issues about patient- and family-centered care while building a foundation for networking during the seminar and beyond. By the end of the seminar, small groups will finalize Action Plans for their own organizations.

Participants will have additional optional opportunities for networking:

  • Special topic breakfasts such as: Breakfast for Patient and Family Advisors (Juliette Schlucter, Hollis Guill Ryan, Kelly Parent, Tara Bristol, and Brenda Boberg, Facilitators); Physician Networking Breakfast (Bill Schwab, Facilitator); Patient/Family Advisory Councils—Overcoming Barriers Networking Breakfast (Marlene Fondrick, Facilitator); Networking Breakfasts among various areas of interest.
  • Hosted Breakfast Discussion with Bev Johnson: Advancing the Practice of Patient- and Family-Centered Care in Health Systems (Across Multiple Hospitals and Ambulatory Settings).
  • Reception and Celebratory Dinner.

Other special events are described in the seminar brochure and the July/August Pinwheel Pages.

The Institute is also proud to offer an invitational two-day Leadership Track, sponsored by the NC Hospital Association Strategic Partners. This track has been designed for CEOs, CNOs, CMOs, other senior executives, and members of governing boards. For more information about the Leadership Track, please contact Julie Ginn Moretz at the Institute.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital:  Winner of Pinwheel Sponsor Scholarship

Congratulations to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the winner of the Institute's random drawing to award one Pinwheel Sponsor a free registration to the North Carolina Hospitals and Communities Moving Forward with Patient- and Family-Centered Care Seminar.

Institute Celebrates its 50th Webinar

The Institute proudly conducted its 50th webinar: The Road Less Traveled: Integrating Pediatric Palliative Care and Patient- and Family-Centered Care, on September 22, 2010. The webinar series began in April 2009. Presently there are fourteen webinar topics, including two new ones: Patient- and Family-Centered Care in an Adult ICU and Hospitals and Communities Advancing Patient- and Family-Centered Care: A Beginner's Guide. The most requested webinars, such as Creating a Patient- and Family-Advisory Council, are offered more than once, based on demand.

Check out the Institute's schedule for future webinars and a recent article in the May-June 2010 issue of Pediatric Nursing, Strengthening Patient- and Family-Centered Care: Learning through Webinars, by Julie Ginn Moretz, the Institute's Director of Special Projects.

IHI Scholarhsips for First Leadership Summit for Patient Activists and Partners in Quality and Safety

On December 5, 2010, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) will gather 50 patients and patient activists for a half-day session at its National Forum to change the care dialog. IHI seeks applications from patients and patient activists who have played an important role in advancing the safety of care in their communities to participate in the first Leadership Summit for Patient Activists and Partners in Quality and Safety.

For more information about scholarships, download the application or contact Jenna Ward

October is Patient-Centered Care Month

"Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month" is an international awareness-building campaign initiated by Planetree.  Every October commemorates the progress that has been made toward making patient-centered care a reality and to build momentum for further progress through education and collaboration. Hospitals and health care organizations around the world are encouraged to empower patients, families, and providers to continue to strengthen patient- and family-centered programs and practices.

Planetree lists ways for providers and patients to celebrate Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month. The ideas include promoting the involvement of patients and families on advisory councils and other committees. Their “Patient-Centered Awareness Month” Tool Kit is available for download. 


Position Available for Director for Patient Education and Health Literacy

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is seeking a Director for Patient Education and Health Literacy to lead the implementation of health literacy standards for Vanderbilt Hospitals, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, The Monroe Carrell Children's Hospital,      read more....