East Campus adds new dimensions to healing environment
In an effort to connect patients with nature, friends of the East Campus launched a horticulture therapy program for East Campus patients.
East Campus Hospital has taken the Planetree model of patient care to a new level of implementation through efforts coordinated by a new community development and outreach manager.
Since late June, Jillian Payne has been working with administration and staff to enhance the East Campus patient experience by further incorporating five healing environment tenants:
• Access to social support, as provided through the peer support and PossAbilities programs, among other means
• Positive distractions, such as pet therapy, daily steamed towel service, and musical events in the park
• Options and choices, soon to be available through the resource center and in meal options and other areas
• Elimination of environmental stressors through the use of natural lighting, materials, and color palates and meditation areas
• Connection to nature, visible in accessible patios off patient rooms, the newly opened park with therapeutic walkways, and horticulture therapy recently launched
For a number of years, East Campus has been implementing the healing environment in patient care and facility planning, says Ms. Payne. Her role was “born of the dreams people have for their areas in East Campus but never had the time or hands to fully implement.”
“My goal,” says Ms. Payne, “is both to take East Campus out into the community and to bring the community t
East Campus administrator Michael Jackson, MPH, joins in on a facility beautification project.
o East Campus, through events, volunteer opportunities, tours—creating synergy.”
Already, Friday Night Praise (a musical organization) is bringing the community to the East Campus park. Patients, families, and staff joined with musicians from Crosswalk Church on August 31, and from the Portuguese Adventist church on October 19, for praise and worship through music. Similar programs are planned monthly on the outdoor performance stage, which was paid for by the East Campus employee giving campaign in 2007.
In an effort to connect patients with nature, members of the Inland Empire Master Gardeners joined School of Allied Health Professions students and Crosswalk Church volunteers to launch a horticulture therapy program on October 6. The volunteers installed wheelchair-height planting pots and hummingbird feeders on all of the patios in the inpatient rehabilitation unit at East Campus. The University of California cooperative extension, in conjunction with professors from the University of California at Davis, is conducting ongoing research on the program.
Patients at East Campus now receive a steamed hand towel each morning to add to their comfort during hospitalization. Facilities director Lisa Berry and chief patient care officer Jan Kroetz devised an ingenious system for steaming the towels, which are delivered to each patient by the environmental services staff. “The housekeeping staff really likes having a direct part in making patients more comfortable,” says Ms. Kroetz.
Ms. Payne says that providing fresh-baked muffins for patients is among other services to be launched soon. “When someone comes into a patient’s room and says, ‘We made this muffin just for you today,’ it feels good to the patient. They feel like someone took a moment to say, ‘I know you are here in the hospital, and we want you to know that we are thinking about you.’ There’s nothing complex about what we are trying to accomplish. We simply want to create opportunities for patients to feel cared about in extraordinary ways.”
Making East Campus a great place to work for the employees is also a priority. “You need to do an excellent job of caring for your employees so they can do an excellent job of caring for patients and families,” says East Campus administrator Michael Jackson, MPH.
Mr. Jackson’s assistant, Colleen Todorovitch, coordinates on-site car washes and routine auto maintenance, as well as postal services. In October, an employee spa day provided employees with a free 10-minute massage, hand paraffin-dip, and aromatherapy. “Employees must know they are a vital component to creating an exceptional experience for patients,” says Ms. Payne, who organized the spa day. “East Campus administration is committed to communicating appreciation for the significant impact employees make.”
Ultimately, East Campus aims to help patients and families “feel completely at home,” says Ms. Payne. “Patients should feel that they are in a place that is welcoming to them, a place where they have all the information they need, a place where they feel they have been cared for in a way they never expected.
“That’s happening here already,” Ms. Payne concludes. “I’m just excited to play a part in enhancing that process.”
By Marilyn Thomsen, PhD