Guiding Patients and Families through the Health System


By Diane Drago, PFCC Advisor

Have you ever been lost or overwhelmed when visiting a large city that is new to you?  Or tried to navigate a road in thick fog?  If so, just imagine what our patients and families are feeling when they first enter the health system—or even for a return visit. They aren’t just entering a new, large place, they’re often doing so while frightened, confused and concerned about their health or that of a loved one.

Having easy access to basic health system information is imperative for our patients and families to navigate UMHS and is integral to us being able to provide the best patient- and family-centered care possible. While there is a fair amount of information online, not every patient and family member is able to access it and often times, doesn’t even think to do it prior to their first visit.  Therefore, UMHS’ Department of Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) embarked on project to design a new and improved guidebook for our patients and families.

The goal?  To provide a new, simplified and easy-to-use guidebook which can be used throughout the hospital on the adult side. (C.S. Mott is revising its own materials as well.)  Past versions were too long and confusing, essentially defeating its purpose.

The process?  PFCC’s intern, Anna Solomon, took responsibility for the enormous and painstaking research required to create a user-friendly version of the guidebook.  A group of PFCC advisers was also convened to review materials and offer feedback on what is most important to patients and families.  Anna spent most of her internship interviewing all known UMHS departments, to determine the critical information needed from their area.  This included departments such as social work, interpreter services, food service, complementary therapy and Gifts of Art, among others.

The result?  Anna completed her internship by providing a thorough outline of and the materials for the new guidebook.  It will include system-wide information such as maps, food service options, local hotels, hospital amenities, parking, financial services and tips for medical stays.  Important phone numbers for major clinics will be included, along with the ability for individual clinics to add their own, specialized information.  The guidebook is now being finalized by the PFCC office and is expected to be completed next year. It will also be hosted online.

Communication.  Information.  Education. As always, these are the themes which comprise quality patient- and family-centered care, and is the foundation of the new UMHS guidebook.



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