New Community Healing Project Enhances the Patient Experience

Organization: Story Topics:
Accolade, Expansion & Innovation
By E. Mike Vasilomanolakis, MD, Chief of Staff, Community Hospital Long Beach

A core value at Community Hospital Long Beach is its patient and family centered care. As a way to improve that care even further, we launched “Community Healing” – an initiative aimed at enhancing the patient and family experience and providing a warm and welcoming environment for healing.

In order for patient and family centered care to be successful, it needs to be embraced by the entire hospital. At Community Hospital Long Beach, it’s become a culture that engages our entire staff – not just physicians and nurses, but each person that can impact a patient’s experience – from our volunteers who greet them in the lobby to the daily interaction with our housekeeping team.

To sustain this culture, over the last year, members of our staff formed a committee to review areas that still had room for growth.

Through the committee, “Community Healing” was born. This new comprehensive approach to care emphasizes each patient’s mental, emotional, spiritual, social and physical well-being.

“Community Healing” offers added elements to our care, such as:

  • Cookies & Light Refreshments: Two times a week, fresh baked cookies with tea, coffee or water are served to patients and their families at their bedside.
  • Scented Towel: To provide a calming and cleansing moment, patients are offered a warm scented towel during the day.
  • Pet Therapy: Trained therapy dogs and their handlers bring warmth and relaxation when they visit patients in waiting areas and at their bedside.
  • Visit with Volunteers: Volunteers have always played a critical role in ensuring our patients are receiving the highest quality of care. Patients receive special visits from volunteers who make sure that all of their needs are being met.
  • Healing Garden: A “Community Healing” garden was created on campus. Complete with a fountain and soft music, the garden serves as a place of relaxation not only for patients, but for families and visitors.
  • Discharge: At discharge, each patient receives a small baked good and a thank you note from the dietary department.
  • After Discharge: Once they’re home, each patient receives a hand-written card signed by their entire care team. 

Each of these elements is small, but together it results in improved patient outcomes and satisfaction.