Veteran-Centered Care at VAPAHCS - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System

 

Veteran-Centered Care at VAPAHCS

VFAC Group members sit around a table during a meeting

Members of the Veteran Family Advisory Council meet monthly to help the administrative and medical staff better understand the patient experience and provide suggestions and feedback on ways to make effective, meaningful improvements.

Friday, January 24, 2020

While visiting your primary care provider or any VA provider, you may have heard the term “patient-centered care” or “Veteran-centered care”. At VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS), our goal is to deliver individualized care for each Veteran.

What does “Veteran-centered care” mean? It means:

  • Listening to each patient about what is important to him/her and honoring individual priorities and values
  • Partnering with each Veteran to address his/her health goals

Studies show that the quality of care, patient safety, and health outcomes greatly increase when there is a true partnership among health care providers, patients, and families. At VAPAHCS, our mission is to foster “Veteran & Family Centered Care.” We believe that families play a vital role in the care and well-being of Veterans, and we welcome family and friends as valued members of the healthcare team.

A powerful phrase that describes a patient-centered approach is “nothing about me, without me.” We support Veterans and their family members being actively engaged every step of the way.

Here are a few of the elements we have heard are valued by many of our Veterans and Family members:

  • Respect for personal values, choices, and needs
  • Coordination of care
  • Information to help prepare for next steps
  • Empathy
  • Thorough information and instruction
  • Individualized care
  • Physical comfort
  • Emotional support
  • Involvement of family and friends
  • Shared decision-making

In January 2010, VAPAHCS established the Veteran Family Advisory Council to help foster a cultural shift toward patient and family-centered care. Today, there are 19 Veterans & family advisors on the council who meet monthly with staff. These advisors help the administrative and medical staff better understand the patient experience and provide suggestions and feedback on ways to make effective, meaningful improvements.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the Veteran Family Advisory Council or would like more information, please visit our webpage.

Veteran and family-centered care is about working with our Veterans and family members, not making assumptions about what someone wants. This is done by listening and truly hearing what is important and what matters to each person. Our aim is to truly partner with each patient. Our advisors keep us honest. They help us look beyond what works for the health care system and focus on what really matters to Veterans and their families. They help make us better.

Article contributor:
Linda Frommer, MPH, Veteran & Family Centered Care Program Manager

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