Jeanes Hospital has been my family’s “go to” place for 40 years now. I have been employed here as an RN; delivered two babies; bid my dad good-bye; been an in-patient; used outpatient services; spent hours (days) in the ER; and visited hospitalized relatives and friends many times. I have also served on several committees and am currently a board member.
As I consider the countless interactions with the hospital itself and people attached to it, I am most struck by the sense of constancy I experience here, or why else would I rely so strongly on Jeanes? Thinking back, one extremely important intervention with me, as a family member, was a conversation I had with an empathetic, gentle pulmonary doctor in ICU when it appeared it would be necessary to disconnect my dad from life support. I experienced kindness and understanding from the nursing staff during some very difficult days, as well as from the pastoral care person after he passed away.
When I was invited to join the PFAC, I agreed to find out what it entailed. As I grew to understand the philosophy behind it, I was struck by its comprehensive view of health care. Since I have been a nurse for 50 years, and a family therapist for 30, I look at the concept from the inside and the outside.
Part of why I decided to switch careers to family therapy had something to do with my observations as a nurse. I thought of how many times a patient’s visitors would stand around the bed, looking lost and exhausted. It was obvious they required support and education, as they were often disconnected from information and decision making regarding the patient.
Later, I learned ways to include family/significant others along with the patient, which effectively intercepted problems. During this time, managed care took much decision making out of the hands of doctors. Everyone felt this shift, which made good communication paramount to all involved in patient care. I believe much of this is already accomplished by the Jeanes staff. Moving towards a more inclusive way of “getting everyone on the same page” is a goal worth realizing.
So, I serve on this committee, which aims to achieve a more fully integrated style of health care – where providers are experts in medicine, and patients and the people significant to them are experts on their lives.