He points to the University of Pennsylvania Health System as an example, and as it turns out, it's the nurses there who are responsible for implementing and nurturing many of its patient- and family-centered efforts.
"Nurses really are doing so much," says Mary K. Walton MSN, MBE, RN, a nurse ethicist who spent 30 years in a pediatric setting before moving to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), where she works as the director of Patient/Family Centered Care. "We have that 24/7 presence where we can really see the needs."
She tells me that the hospital in general, and nurses in particular, have been working for several years on patient- and family-centered care, having families present and involved in everything from nurse-to-nurse bedside rounds, to discharge planning, to resuscitation attempts. Such aspects of patient- and family-centered care are taken for granted at pediatric hospitals, but aren't as common at adult hospitals.
For instance, at HUP, family members can stay at a patient's bedside continuously if they want to, sleeping in one of the hospital's hundreds of bedside sleeping chairs. In fact, families aren't simply allowed to stay; "we welcome them. They're important to the patient, and they're important to us," Walton says.
Unit secretaries walk around to patients' bedsides to tell family members they can stay overnight; give out pillows, blankets, and sleeping chairs; and write down the names of anyone who's staying.