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Merit Health Wesley Receives Gold Certification

This press release comes from Merit Health Wesley

HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Merit Health Wesley has been awarded Gold Certification for Excellence in Person-Centered Care by Planetree International. This certification recognizes Merit Health Wesley’s achievement and innovation in the delivery of a patient experience that goes beyond the norm in today’s healthcare environment.

Merit Health Wesley is the first healthcare organization in Mississippi, one of only 26 nationwide and one of only 85 worldwide to receive the Person-Centered Care Gold Certification since the program’s launch in 2007.

This model of care prioritizes individualized patient preferences for their care throughout their hospital stay with an emphasis on partnership, compassion, transparency, inclusion, and quality.

“Each patient is different with individual needs and preferences. We recognize their differences and work with our patients to individualize their experience during the healing process,” said Mike Neuendorf, chief executive officer of Merit Health Wesley.

The criteria for certification address a variety of components of one’s healthcare experience, including the quality of patient-provider interactions, access to information, family involvement and the physical environment of care. Importantly, the criteria also focus on how Merit Health Wesley supports staff, as well as opportunities for staff, patients, and families to have a voice in the way care is delivered.

“If a patient who doesn’t have family but does have a pet at home wants to visit with their pet, we encourage it,” says Phebe McKay, chief nursing officer. “We believe pet therapy can be of great comfort for certain patients.”

Another example of individualizing a patient’s experience, according to McKay, includes expanding therapy options for patients. “We offer our patients a variety of pain management alternatives, including aromatherapy and therapeutic touch options such as massage, cupping and needling,” she said. “We have seen that caring touch can reduce anxiety and stress in our patients.”

“Spirituality is at the core of our hospital,” said Neuendorf. “We believe supporting patients, families and employees spiritually by providing access to spaces such as our prayer garden, chapel and serenity room is paramount to taking care of them.”

The criteria that Merit Health Wesley satisfied to achieve Planetree Gold Certification reflect what patients, family members and healthcare professionals in hundreds of focus groups say matters most to them during a healthcare experience. This qualitative data aligns with the growing evidence-base for person-centered care and forms a concrete framework for defining and measuring excellence in this area.

“The Planetree Certification is the only award that recognizes excellence in person-centeredness across the continuum of care,” said Susan Frampton, President of Planetree International, a not-for-profit organization that has been at the forefront of the movement to transform healthcare from the perspective of patients for 40 years. “This Gold Certification signals to its patients and community that Merit Health Wesley is an organization where staff partner with patients and families, and where patient and family comfort, dignity, empowerment and well-being are prioritized as key elements of providing top-quality clinical care.”



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