Valley Health System is a regional health care system that serves residents in northern New Jersey and southern New York. It comprises The Valley Hospital, Valley Home Care and Valley Medical Group. Key services include cardiology, oncology, women’s and children’s services, emergency care, orthopedics and neurosciences. Valley Health System’s Centers of Excellence offer comprehensive coordinated inpatient and outpatient programs and services to help ensure excellent clinical outcomes and quality. The Centers of Excellence include Cardiac/Heart Failure, Diabetes, Oncology, Pulmonary, Geriatrics, and Total Joint and Neurovascular. Valley maintains affiliations and collaborations with Mount Sinai Health System and with Cleveland Clinic’s Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute. For more information, visit www.ValleyHealth.com.
Valley is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including Gold Seals of Approval from The Joint Commission in eight clinical areas. Valley has also been recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Stroke Care and General Surgery and with Excellence Awards™ for Cranial Neurosurgery, Neurosciences, Gynecologic Surgery, and Patient Safety.
Valley Health System began its Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) journey in 2012 with the appointment of a Director of Patient and Family Centered Care, who then worked with a nursing leader co-chair to develop an interdisciplinary PFCC Steering Team. With the help of this team, PFCC began to take shape in the organization. A few of the initial projects included the creation of a hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), establishment of Bedside Shift Report and the development of a 4-hour PFCC class for frontline staff. Over the years, more than 2,000 staff members have attended the class.
Valley has adopted PFCC’s four core concepts into its practices:
Respect and Dignity
Example: Bedside Shift Report. Traditionally, this report had taken place at the nursing unit. Valley now conducts it at the bedside, inviting patients and families to participate in the exchange of information.
Example: Patient Portal. This was designed to provide patients better access to medical information electronically.
Example: Valley’s Consumer Health Ambassador Program. Volunteers work with a Medical Librarian to assess patient or family needs for more information about their medical condition and/or treatment plan.
Example: Design of new hospital. Many of Valley’s advisors are involved in meetings with hospital architects as a new hospital campus is planned and designed from the ground up.
Valley’s practitioners recognize the vital role that families play in ensuring the health and well being of infants, children, adolescents and family members of all ages. They acknowledge that emotional, social, and developmental supports are integral components of health care. They promote the health and well being of individuals and families and restore dignity and control to them.
Once PFCC began to take root, Valley Health System’s Mission, Vision and Values Statements were changed to reflect PFCC core elements. For example, Valley Health System’s Vision statement now includes the following, “We will provide superior service by collaborating with patients, their families, our doctors, and each other.” As part of IPFCC’s Better Together campaign, Valley also implemented a Welcome Policy that encourages families to be at the bedside anytime patients wish.
Patient Family Advisory Councils
As part of its Patient and Family Centered Care initiative, Valley has established Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) to ensure that the perspectives of patients and families are incorporated into how patient care is delivered. The Hospital’s PFAC, started in 2012, was the first. Then PFACs were extended to other areas, including outpatient services. Currently, Valley has 8 PFACs: The Valley Hospital, Outpatient Oncology, Homecare/Hospice, Surgical, Breast Services, NICU, Child Development Center, and Cardiac Surgery.
Additionally, advisors serve on various other committees and task forces throughout the system for a total of 100+ patient/family advisors involved in numerous projects. Valley’s Hospital PFAC has been especially helpful in facilitating participation of advisors alongside frontline staff in planning and development meetings with architects for the design of the new hospital in Paramus, NJ.
Valley’s advisors themselves articulate the benefits of their involvement:
“During my recent six night stay, I was able to experience the successful implementation of many of the items I have worked on as a Patient and Family Advisor. The unit I was on as a whole is certainly committed to leading Patient and Family Centered Care at Valley and I thank them all.”
“While I find being a Patient and Family Advisor personally rewarding, it is more important that, as a result of Valley’s leadership team embracing PFCC as a priority, Valley patients and their families have a more secure, more comfortable, and better informed hospital stay.”
Valley’s patient and family advisors have been essential in assisting the organization on its journey to becoming a High Reliability Organization (HRO). Advisors identified four key areas of safety to actively engage patients and families in inpatient settings, including hand washing, wristband ID band, medication ID, and falls prevention. After developing a video that is shown to inpatients upon admission via the GetWellNetwork, advisors were trained to become Patient/Family Safety Ambassadors. As Safety Ambassadors, they round on patients and families using a survey that they created to measure outcomes around these four key areas of safety. This project began during the first quarter of 2018. After a few months, based on initial findings, additional joint projects were created with other departments to improve the experience of safety.
Pamela Bell, Director, Patient Family Centered Care, summarizes the importance of advisors’ participation in change and improvement at Valley Health System:
I continue to be inspired by our patient and family advisor's commitment to us: our patients, families, staff, and one another. I am confident that, as we continue to move forward, we will be involved in work that is fulfilling, exciting and makes a difference in our patient/family experience! Together, we can be the best in class!
To learn more about advisors’ contributions over the years, read Valley’s PFCC Annual Reports.