Derby, CT - June 16, 2008 - Planetree, a nonprofit membership organization known for its pioneering work with hospitals and health centers to develop and implement patient-centered care in healing environments, has named New Milford Hospital as its newest affiliate. Founded in 1921, the 85-bed Litchfield County community hospital has begun a multi-year process to build on its longstanding reputation for both high quality and exceptionally compassionate patient care by incorporating into its facilities and programs the Planetree focus on healing and nurturing body, mind and spirit, according to Joseph P. Frolkis, MD, PhD, President and CEO, New Milford Hospital. "We have found a model of care that complements what we already do well, but that will allow us to further elevate the highly personalized care that we offer to all our patients. As we implement Planetree, we want to create an environment that emphasizes not only healing and recovery, but continued wellness through a focus on disease prevention for both the patient and his or her caregivers," Dr. Frolkis said.
Susan Frampton, President of Planetree, said, "We seek organizations that combine quality care and a personalized approach, which are critical elements for successful Planetree organizations, and are therefore delighted to welcome New Milford Hospital to the Planetree family. As a global catalyst and leader, Planetree promotes the development and implementation of innovative models of health care that focus on personalizing, humanizing and demystifying the healthcare experience for patients and their families. We are looking forward to assisting New Milford Hospital with plans that will strengthen its unique brand of health care that emphasizes comfort, kindness and personal attention, and its desire to better involve both patient and family in the provision of high-quality services."
With more than 140 member organizations around the world, including both major academic medical centers and community hospitals, Planetree's philosophy includes the beliefs 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
- a holistic approach will 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 well-being
- illness can be a transformational experience for patients, families and caregivers
First Initiative to Improve Food Services
New Milford Hospital has identified a dining transition plan as one of the first major initiatives in implementing the Planetree model of care. Specifically, the Hospital has selected Unidine Corporation as its exclusive provider of dining services to bring fresh food into the facility, support local businesses, and promote health in the community.
Robert Sommer, Vice President for Human Resources and Executive Sponsor of Planetree at New Milford Hospital, said, "During our search for a new dining service provider, we found a strong alignment between the Hospital and Unidine. Unidine is a 'fresh food' company that immediately embraced our Plow to Plate™ initiative, which encourages the consumption of regionally grown foods and supports local farms."
"Unidine places great value on team members: it is a learning organization committed to ongoing training. Unidine also provides the dining services at Griffin Hospital, a flagship hospital for Planetree," Sommer added.
Unidine will officially begin serving Hospital patients, staff and visitors in early July. During the summer months, Unidine will begin to phase out fried foods and processed products from the menu, introducing fresh food and local ingredients whenever and wherever possible.
"We are pleased to welcome Unidine to our community. As these changes occur, employees, patients and visitors will share in the opportunity to participate in a dining initiative focused on 'simple, nutritious and delicious' meals that truly promote healthier lifestyles," Sommer said.
The Planetree Model
Since its founding in 1978 as a non-profit organization, Planetree has been a pioneer in patient-centered rather than provider-focused care, and is committed to improving medical care from the patient's perspective. It empowers patients and families through information and education, and encourages "healing partnerships" with care givers.
Planetree's approach is holistic and encourages healing in all dimensions - mental, emotional, spiritual and social, as well as physical. It seeks to maximize health care outcomes by integrating optimal medical therapies. Access to arts and nature are also incorporated into the healing environment.
The Planetree Model recognizes the importance of architectural and interior design in the healing process. A growing body of scientific data points to improved patient outcomes and satisfaction as a result of design factors which are homelike, barrier free, support patient dignity and encourage family participation in care. Facility designs utilizing Planetree's principles result in life-enhancing, healing environments.
New Milford Hospital
New Milford Hospital is a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. Key specialties include cancer and cardiovascular care, emergency medicine, one-day surgery, sleep disorders, orthopedics, women's imaging and family birthing. The hospital consistently ranks among the highest in Connecticut and nationally for patient satisfaction, serving residents in Connecticut and New York. For more information, visit www.newmilfordhospital.org.