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Care Partners: Your Healthcare Team

It's your healthcare team. Which is why we practice family-centered healthcare with our Care Partners program, involving your loved ones in your care.

Why should a loved one be on your healthcare team?

You may be healthy now. But chances are, someday, you’ll need to be hospitalized. It’s a good idea to think about who among family or friends you’d like to have on your healthcare team. He or she may have no medical training. But one thing is clear: They’ll play an important role in how well you heal.

Embracing Families

Research shows that family-centered care is good medicine.

“Patients cope better, recover faster and experience better pain control when the family is engaged [in their care plan],” according to Holly Glassberg, UVA’s Director of Nursing Governance Programs. “With pediatrics, it’s absolutely beneficial for the child, but it’s true for any patient.”

Surrounding patients with those who are nearest and dearest is something UVA is embracing.
After significant research and input from the Institute for Family-Centered Care, UVA’s Professional Nursing Staff Organization (PNSO) determined that open visitation was the way to go.

“Having the family at the bedside promoted healing, did not increase the risk of infectious disease and did no harm to the patient,” says Jennifer Hall, a UVA registered nurse and administrative coordinator for Acute Care Pediatrics.

Part of Your Healthcare Team

Near and Dear image

Based on these findings, a visitation program called Care Partners was created and piloted in UVA Children’s Hospital and is in operation for adult patients across UVA Health System.

This program allows the patient (or parent or guardian if the patient is a child) to identify two individuals as the primary on-site caregivers upon admission. They sign a visitation agreement indicating that they have read and understand the expectations and rules, and they receive a green armband that easily identifies them to hospital staff as “Care Partners.”

From that point on, Care Partners are considered part of the care team – not “visitors” in the traditional sense.
They have 24-hour access to patients, and are not required to go through the usual daily registration process for overnight visitation.

Family-Centered Care: A Success

“We’ve received great feedback from staff, great feedback from parents and patient satisfaction scores have improved dramatically,” says Glassberg.

“We welcome families to participate in care and want to engage the family in a way that meets everyone’s needs,” Glassberg says. “Including families is absolutely the way to go.”