A Tidelands Health leader is taking his expertise improving the experience of patients and their families to a national stage.
Gary Life, Tidelands Health manager of service excellence and patient and family engagement, has been appointed to The Joint Commission’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, a diverse group of 12 prominent individuals who provide feedback on how The Joint Commission’s policies and procedures impact patient- and family-centered care. Life will serve a six-year term.
The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit organization, is the nation’s largest and oldest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. It accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs across the country.
“By helping The Joint Commission improve its policies and procedures, the Patient and Family Advisory Council can help drive positive change within the health care organizations and programs the commission certifies and accredits,” Life said. “It’s an honor to serve on the council and have such an important opportunity.”
Life said Tidelands Health is focused not just on providing excellent clinical care but also on supporting the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families. He plans to bring that background to the advisory council.
“Healing is often more than just a physical process,” Life said. “It’s important as health care providers that we’re cognizant of the other needs our patients and families may have.”
In addition to providing feedback on existing Joint Commission policies and procedures, the Patient and Family Advisory Council also offers input on new guidelines The Joint Commission is developing. Members are also responsible for identifying trends within health care to help the commission respond, as appropriate.
Tidelands Health has taken a variety of steps to strengthen patient and family engagement, Life said. For example, the health system is launching an interdisciplinary rounding program that allows patients and their families to meet simultaneously with a patient’s entire care team and ask questions or raise concerns.
The health system is also establishing a Community Partner Council at both Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital.
The Community Partner Council is a way for the Tidelands Health to gather feedback on patient care and improve collaboration among organizations and individuals who engage with patients and their families, Life said. The councils can include patients, other health care providers and individuals from organizations that focus on the spiritual or emotional needs of patients and their families.
Individuals interested in learning more about serving on a Community Partner Council can to go tidelandshealth.org.
“Providing the best possible care means always looking for ways to improve,” Life said. “At Tidelands Health, that’s what we try to do every day.”