Power to the patients
Columbia Memorial Hospital embraces patient-centered care

“Planetree's concept is about making the healthcare system more patient centered, instead of we're going to tell you what to do and it's your job to listen,” said Dr. Jarrod Karnofski, vice president of ancillary & support services at CMH, “We want patients to be involved every step of the way.”

ASTORIA — The first feature film to use synchronized dialogue, “The Jazz Singer,” was wowing audiences in New York City, marking the end of the silent film era. At the same time, assembly lines in Detroit were the pinnacle of modern manufacturing, then nearing the 15 million mark in Ford Model T production.

Meanwhile, the first patients were being treated at the newly established Columbia Hospital in Astoria. The year was 1927. The current Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH), located at 2111 Exchange Street, opened in 1977, but the roots can be traced back to 1880 to Saint Mary’s Hospital, the region’s first hospital.

Today, CMH is a 25-bed full-service, critical access, not-for-profit, level IV trauma center with a Planetree Patient Centered Care Designation since 2013.

“It’s a philosophy, an organization we follow, but we aren’t owned by any corporation. When we were designated in 2013, there were some 2000 hospitals across the world that were affiliated, but only 26 were designated,” said Paul Mitchell, community outreach and marketing manager at CMH. “We were the 26th hospital that had a high enough standard to become designated. In the US alone, there were only four hospitals with designation that are our size.” In Oregon, CMH is among three hospitals with Planetree Designation including Asante Ashland Community Hospital in Ashland and Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles.

Since 2000, CMH has been incorporating a patient-centered approach, a culture based on the Planetree philosophy which first began in 1978 with Angelica Thieriot after a traumatic hospital experience. Thieriot’s envisioned a hospital where patients could get support and healing on all levels and be more active in their own care and well being, the foundation of Planetree. A 13-bed medical unit in San Francisco was the first to become designated, but has since expanded to more than 275 healthcare settings across the world. The Planetree philosophy is based on 10 tenets.

“To be come a Planetree hospital, there are 10 tenets that we must follow. They drive every aspect of who we are as an organization. Planetree really isn’t just an organization we belong to — it’s who we are,” said Mitchell. The 10 tenets include:

• That we are human beings, caring for other human beings

• We are all caregivers

• Caregiving is best achieved through kindness and compassion

• Safe, accessible, high quality care is fundamental to patient centered care

• In a holistic approach to meeting people’s needs of body, mind and spirit

• Families, friends and loved ones are vital to the healing process

• Access to understandable health information can empower individuals to participate in their health

• The opportunity for individuals to make personal choices related to their care is essential

• Physical environments can enhance healing, health and wellbeing

• Illness can be a transformational experience for patients, families and caregiver

The approach gives patients greater control with their care and fosters a receptive relationship with providers.

“Planetree’s concept is about making the healthcare system more patient centered, instead of we’re going to tell you what to do and it’s your job to listen,” said Dr. Jarrod Karnofski, DPT, ATC, CSCS and vice president of ancillary & support services at CMH.

“We want patients to be involved every step of the way and create an environment — that’s why you won’t see white walls in our facility. It’s kind of like combining the nice services you would expect at a nice hotel along with a hospital. It’s a totally different concept.” The differences are in the every day details when it comes to custom care.

“We have room service. You can actually order off a menu what you want for lunch that day — It’s not here’s your lunch and your Jello — You order what you like and we feed the people with you as well. We do the things that are a step above so that people can concentrate on getting well,” Mitchell said.

“It’s different from the typical hustle and bustle environment in hospitals people are used to seeing. We don’t have visiting hours, people can come any time,” Karnofski said. The mission is the same for each member on staff and each plays a part.

“We call all of our employees caregivers. Whether you’re a housekeeper or a doctor, you’re still here for one purpose and that’s to care for patients,” he said.

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