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Vidant volunteers named Outstanding Patient Family Advisor by North Carolina Hospital Association

March 23, 2016 posted by Amy Holcombe

GREENVILLE – Dave Galloway and Dorothea Handron, patient and family advisors at Vidant Medical Center (VMC), are the recipients of the Outstanding Patient Family Advisory Award by the North Carolina Quality Center, an initiative of the North Carolina Hospital Association. 

The award recognizes the work being done in North Carolina hospitals and health systems to improve patient experience and patient safety through concrete strategies. These strategies include being able to partner well with leaders, staff and organization in decision making and improving patient experience, devoting time and energy to their job, providing useful and respectful feedback, displaying leadership regarding the development of projects and working with people and creativity and innovation.

Galloway’s road to becoming a patient and family advisor began back in 2008 when he was riding his bicycle and was hit head on by a car, resulting in him being airlifted to VMC. 

Galloway sits on the Vidant Health Board Quality Committee which actively monitors national, state and local developments in patient safety, quality and experience and provides general guidance and direction on the patient and quality program at Vidant Health. Having a patient and family advisor on this team supports Vidant Health’s commitment to ensuring that the voice of the patient is heard and decisions are made as partners in health care.

Dave still visits with patients when the rehabilitation department calls upon him to assist with a patient who needs to hear that recovery is possible from someone who has lived the experience.

Handron has a long history of hospital visits, beginning in 2009 when she was admitted to the hospital for a seemingly routine abdominal surgery. She ended up spending 91 days in the hospital. A surgical complication that went undetected led to sepsis and a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU). 

Her hospital experience coupled with her career as a professional nurse educator led her to pursue the role of a patient and family advisory in 2011. 

In this role, Handron has advocated for enhancing communication for the non-verbal patient as well as pain management. She possesses the knowledge of the clinician and the experiences of the patient and is therefore able to convey how to express empathy and compassion and work collaboratively to develop a plan of care.

Over the last few months, Handron has worked with a team of graduate medical educators and senior hospital leaders to create a process of interprofessional education to enhance physician communication. She rounds with an internal medicine team and observes the physicians’ bedside interaction. She then works with the patient experience leader to educate the physicians on the desired behaviors during patient and family encounters. This innovative program, focusing the patient advisory as educator, is on the cutting edge of impacting traditional models for education and ensuring compassionate care is emphasized.

Galloway and Handron were recently honored at the 2016 Patient Engagement and NC Care Transitions Summit in Durham.
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