About Us

About Us:

Since our founding by a patient in 1978, Planetree has defined what it means to be patient-centered.  Planetree’s philosophy is based on a simple premise: care should be organized first and foremost around the needs of patients.  To understand those needs Planetree turned to the source. Thousands of focus groups—from bedside to boardroom—with patients, long-term care residents, families and professional caregivers across the globe have borne out their needs and desires for a more personalized, humanized and demystified health care experience.

Bringing these concepts to life requires a shift not merely in operations but fundamentally in culturePlanetree guides providers through a structured process that enables caregivers to transform the health care experience they provide.

Planetree has a nearly 40-year history of partnering with providers across the continuum of care to transform organizational cultures and delivering health care that is putting the needs of individuals first. By partnering with Planetree, providers across the continuum—from large, urban systems to small, critical access hospitals and long-term care communities–attain the expertise, tools and support needed to transform their health care experiences for patients, residents and caregivers alike. Presently, Planetree’s international membership is comprised of more than 500 organizations from eight countries.  Additionally, Planetree has partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to collaborate with the new VA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation in the development of the VA’s own patient-centered care model for Veterans who receive health care services at VA’s more than 1,000 points of care across the nation.

Learn more by reading our affiliate success stories

Who Is Planetree?


Planetree is well known throughout the world by Industry leaders due to its many speaking engagements and published articles as well as its award-winning book, Putting Patients First. Nationally, Planetree leaders serve as policy advisors and committee members adding the patient voice to new standards, regulations and legislation.

As a partner organization of the National Priorities Partnership (NPP), and Planetree President Susan B. Frampton, PhD, serving as its co-chair, Planetree brings the patient voice to to the forefront of federal health policy.

About National Priorities Partnership

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created new responsibilities for NQF as the consensus-based entity, including convening a multistakeholder group to provide annual input to the Department of Health and Human Services on the development of a National Quality Strategy. To fulfill this role, NQF convened the National Priorities Partnership (NPP) to:

  • Identify national goals that map to the priorities put forth in the National Quality Strategy;
  • Provide input on measures for tracking national progress toward the goals; and
  • Offer guidance on high-leverage strategic opportunities to accelerate improvement.

The NPP is a collaborative effort of 51 major national organizations—which brings together public- and private-sector stakeholder groups in a forum that balances the interests of consumers, purchasers, health plans, clinicians, providers, communities, states, and suppliers in achieving the aims of better care, affordable care, and healthy people and communities.

Solutions Provider

Planetree provides a process and structure that inspires and enables caregivers to transform the healthcare experience.

By partnering with Planetree, providers across the continuum attain the expertise, tools and support needed to embrace continuous process improvement and develop an infrastructure to support sustainable culture change. Frontline caregivers are empowered to personalize the patient experience.

For 35 years, Planetree has been integrating the patient’s voice into the development of new, personalized health care practices.  Organizations begin the patient-/ person-centered journey with organizational assessments, including a series of focus groups with staff, patients and families to incorporate the unique voices within the community into an implementation plan.  Planetree provides a direction, but it’s non-prescriptive and is adapted to each organization in order to suit the needs of caregivers and patients.  The organizational assessment helps to identify organizational priorities and goals, and Planetree staff provides numerous coaching and consultation services to achieve those goals, including unit-based HCAHPS Assessments, Patient-Centered Lean®, Patient and Family Engagement in Practice, and Middle Manager Coaching.

Setting the Standard

Planetree Designation is the only program of its kind representing the highest level of achievement in patient-/person-centered care based on evidence and standards

At a time when healthcare marketing campaigns increasingly assert organizations are pledging to “put patients first,” the Planetree Designation Program is the only program to formally recognize excellence in patient- and person-centered care across the continuum of care.

The Designation Program provides a structured, operational framework for evaluating the organizational systems and processes necessary to sustain organizational culture change. It converts the aspirational aim of becoming more “patient-centered” into something that is defined, attainable and measurable–a practical blueprint for that work by translating high-level concepts into actionable, attainable and sustainable practices.

Planetree’s Vision
As a global catalyst and leader, Planetree promotes the development and implementation of innovative models of healthcare that focus on healing and nurturing body, mind and spirit.

Planetree’s Mission
Planetree is a non-profit organization that provides education and information in a collaborative community of healthcare organizations, facilitating efforts to create patient- centered care in healing environments.

The Planetree Model
Since its founding in 1978, Planetree has continued to be a pioneer in personalizing, humanizing and demystifying the healthcare experience for patients and their families. Founded by a patient, the Planetree Model is committed to enhancing healthcare from the patient’s perspective. It empowers patients and families through information and education, and encourages “healing partnerships” with caregivers to support active participation. Through organizational transformation, the Planetree Model creates healing environments in which patients can be active participants and caregivers are enabled to thrive.

We believe…

  • That we are human beings, caring for other human beings
  • We are all caregivers
  • Caregiving is best achieved through kindness and compassion
  • Safe, accessible, high-quality care is fundamental to patient-centered care
  • In a holistic approach to meeting people’s needs of body, mind and spirit
  • Families, friends and loved ones are vital to the healing process
  • Access to understandable health information can empower individuals to participate in their health
  • The opportunity for individuals to make personal choices related to their care is essential
  • Physical environments can enhance healing, health and wellbeing
  • Illness can be a transformational experience for patients, families and caregivers


Components of the Planetree Model

I. Human Interactions/Independence, Dignity and Choice
Through human beings caring for other human beings a healing environment is created for patients, residents, families, and staff members. This includes providing personalized care for patients, residents and their families as well as creating organizational cultures which support and nurture staff. A Planetree continuing care community offers a range of options that support an individual’s autonomy, lifestyle and interests. Residents direct their care and consistent caregiving teams are assigned to strengthen relationships.

II. Importance of Family, Friends and Social Support
Social support is vital to good health without regard to the setting. Planetree encourages involvement of family and friends whenever possible, offering patient directed visiting, including in the ICU and ER, and encourages the option of family presence during invasive procedures and resuscitation. The Care Partner Program promotes a heightened level of family participation while patients are hospitalized and at home after discharge. Families are encouraged to stay overnight whenever possible. Beyond the human family, pet therapy can elevate mood, lower blood pressure and enhance social interaction.

III. Patient/Resident Education and Community Access to Information
Illness is seen as an educational and potentially transformational opportunity. An open chart policy encourages patients to read their medical records. Patients may write in Patient’s Progress Notes in their medical record and may participate in a self-medication program enabling them to keep medications at the bedside. Collaborative care conferences, patient pathways, and a variety of educational resources provide patients and residents with information and skills to actively participate in their care as well as maximize their physical and psychological well-being. Patient and family libraries along with Internet access are available and Planetree Health Resource Centers are open to the community and offer health and medical information on a wide range of topics.

IV. Healing Environment: Architecture and Interior Design
The physical environment is vital to healing and well-being. Each hospital and continuing care community is designed to incorporate the comforts of home, clearly valuing humans, not just technology. By removing architectural barriers, the design encourages patient and family involvement. An awareness of the symbolic messages communicated by the design is an essential part of planning. Spaces are provided for both solitude and social activities, including libraries, kitchens, lounges, activity rooms, chapels, gardens and overnight accommodation for families.

V. Nutritional and Nurturing Aspects of Food
Nutrition is integral to healing, essential not only for good health but also as a source of pleasure, comfort and familiarity. A flexible dining program that encourages fellowship is particularly relevant in continuing care settings. Healthcare organizations become role models for delicious, healthy eating, with kitchens available throughout the facility to encourage families to bring the patient’s favorite food from home or prepare meals for themselves. Volunteers bake breads, muffins and cookies to provide “aromatherapy” and to create a nurturing environment.

VI. Arts Program/Meaningful Activities and Entertainment
Planetree recognizes that people need opportunities for camaraderie, laughter and creativity and a variety of classes, events, music, storytellers, clowns, and funny movies create an atmosphere of serenity and playfulness. Artwork in patient rooms, treatment areas and residential spaces add to the ambiance. Art carts enable patients to select the artwork of their choice. Volunteers work with patients and residents who would like to create their own art, while artists, musicians, poets and storytellers from the local community help to expand the boundaries of the health care facility. In continuing care settings, staff plans and participates in activities to build fellowship.

VII. Spirituality and Diversity
Planetree recognizes the vital role of spirituality in healing the whole person. Supporting patients, residents, families and staff in connecting with their own inner resources enhances the healing environment. Chapels, gardens, labyrinths and meditation rooms provide opportunities for reflection and prayer. Chaplains are seen as vital members of the health care team.

VIII. Importance of Human Touch
Touch reduces anxiety, pain and stress benefiting patients, residents, families and caregivers. Training programs for staff and family caregivers and volunteers to learn hand and foot rubs and internship programs for massage therapists keep costs minimal.

IX. Integrative Therapies/Paths to Well-Being
Expand the choices offered to patients and residents beyond western scientific care. Aromatherapy, acupuncture and Reiki are examples of expanded options offered in addition to clinical modalities of care. To meet growing consumer demand for complementary therapies, Planetree affiliates have instituted heart disease reversal programs, guided imagery, therapeutic touch, acupuncture, Tai Chi and yoga. Aromatherapy’s calming effect on agitated patients is useful to augment pain management modalities and decrease anxiety. Exercise facilities customized for seniors offer programs to improve strength, balance and fitness. Wellness programs focus on prevention and chronic disease management.

X. Healthy Communities/Enhancement of Life’s Journey
Working with schools, senior citizen centers, churches and other community partners, hospitals are redefining healthcare to include the health and wellness of the larger community. Choosing environmentally friendly cleaning products and sponsoring “kid’s camps”, walking clubs, and community gardens, expands the role of hospitals from treating illness to promoting wellness. Continuing care communities offer opportunities for personal growth, self-expression and fulfillment of individual dreams. Life Stories programs capture milestones in a resident’s life and enable caregivers to see a whole person, nurturing a bond with residents.

Additional information: www.planetree.org