Published on September 19, 2022

As Good as Gold

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Lifting a lonely patient’s spirits with a card game or birthday party. Creating a relaxing space for patients awaiting discharge. Supporting colleagues in times of disaster. When you put people first, it can change everything. That’s what person-centered care represents.

“Person-centered care is a thousand little things. It happens when you have a culture of wanting to do the right thing and giving permission to make it happen.”

“Person-centered care is a thousand little things,” said Joy Todd, Enloe’s Manager of Patient-Centered Care. “It happens when you have a culture of wanting to do the right thing and giving permission to make it happen.”

Enloe Medical Center earned Gold Certification with Distinction for Leadership and Innovation in Person-Centered Care from Planetree International in May. That’s the highest honor awarded by Planetree, a Connecticut-based company that pioneered the person-centered care movement.

Planetree awards the Gold Certification with Distinction to organizations that set the bar higher after having already earned Gold Certification for Excellence in Person-Centered Care. Enloe was among only seven organizations worldwide to share the honor.

“By treating patients, families, and caregivers as people first, we will deliver the kind of care our community expects and deserves,” said Marcia Nelson, M.D., Enloe’s Chief Medical Officer.

In Planetree focus groups for the certification, hundreds of Enloe patients and caregivers reported excellent experiences with caregiver interactions, access to information, family involvement, the physical environment, and more. This solid foundation helps in times of crisis. With freedom to make caring choices, caregivers rally to support the community, patients, visitors and colleagues.

When the Camp Fire destroyed the hospital in Paradise, Enloe absorbed its patients and held a job fair for displaced staff, hiring as many as possible as quickly as possible. This helped stabilize employment and ensure appropriate staffing for the added patients.

The pandemic took a toll on children’s mental health, with 65% more children coming to the Enloe Emergency Department in crisis in 2021, according to data gathered between March 2020 and February 2022.

“By treating patients, families, and caregivers as people first, we will deliver the kind of care our community expects and deserves.”

Occupational therapists responded, creating interventions. Caregivers org-wide adapted daily, offering mass vaccination, updating visitor policies to balance health safety with mental well-being — and much more.

To be awarded, Enloe also had to present an innovative program and demonstrate leadership in teaching other hospitals about person-centered care. Enloe chose an innovative program born from the opioid crisis: the Substance Use Navigator Program, which connects patients with effective treatments for substance-use disorders.

For the second requirement, Susan Avanzino, Ph.D., Associate Professor at California State University, Chico, conducted a decade-long study of Enloe’s cultural evolution and presented her findings at several national conferences.

“Now, going above and beyond is our norm,” Todd said, adding that there’s always room to improve and grow.