Exploring The Patient and Family Engaged Care Framework: Reflections on the Planetree Conference

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In mid-October, I attended the 17th Annual Planetree Conference in Baltimore, along with about 800 people from throughout the world. The atmosphere was charged up as participants talked about some of their organizational challenges in keeping a focus on patient and family-centered care.

The Conference was organized around the Patient and Family Engaged Care Framework. Every session was tied to Better Care, Better Experience, Leadership, and Culture. Seeing the framework come alive through the presentations was rewarding after I have studied and written about it. The PFEC framework provides flexibility on strategies and offers a way to include your improvement initiatives.

The Conference also had some notable keynote speakers who provided a view of the future and also alternative visions for health care in caring for the homeless. Some of the most impactful sessions were ones in which patients shared their own stories.

During the conference, I spoke about my own patient story, “30 seconds that changed my life”. I shared my recent healthcare experience after I was hit by kids in two inner tubes racing down the tubing hill in December 2016. This experience enriched my belief in the importance of patient and family-centered care because even as an educated advocate, I didn’t find the system met my needs.

One of my key points is that I needed to be actively involved in care because the health care system consistently disappointed me. I experienced delays in care, poor communication, access issues, quality problems and even lost belongings. With simple changes, such as incorporating proactive follow up or rounding, many of my concerns could have been addressed before they became issues.

As Planetree and their Patient and Family Engaged Care model continues to evolve, the need for better technology, organizational buy-in, and ROI is clear. I look forward to seeing this topic evolve and to finding new ways to make care more accessible to every patient.


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