Planetree Business

2016 Health Promoting Hospitals & Health Services Conference

Please join us June 8-10, 2016 in New Haven, Connecticut, for the 24th International Conference on Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services (HPH) being held on the historic Yale University campus. HPH was initiated by WHO-Euro in 1990 and became an international association in 2008. HPH’s aim is to improve the physical, emotional and social health of patients, staff and community members, and to contribute to protecting the environment. Today, the network consists of more than 900 member institutions the majority of which belong to one of the more than 40 national/regional HPH networks worldwide.

The annual HPH conference, held in a different country each year, is the main event of this network. The 2015 Oslo conference attracted over 700 participants representing 43 countries. Most of these delegates had a professional background in medicine, nursing, healthcare management, health policy, health sciences, or health consultation. This year is even more exciting as it the first time this event will be held on U.S. soil! Conference themes will focus on creating a culture of health through innovation and partnership, creating health promoting healthcare delivery systems through innovative partnerships in policy, health promoting organizational governance and delivery of care in partnership between professionals and clients and innovative health promoting direct service provision.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this exciting event which promises both delegates and exhibitors an exciting scientific program with a prominent faculty of experts. We invite you to learn, collaborate, share, and build a network of resources to take home with you. We encourage you to share this information with friends and colleagues that you believe would have an interest in attending. For more information, please visit the following sites:

Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services Conference Website

International Network of Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services Website

HPH2016 on Twitter

HPH2016 on Facebook

HPH2016 Registration Site

To learn more about the HPH conference or to register, click here.


The 2016 Planetree International Conference on Patient-Centered Care is Coming to Chicago October 30 – November 2, 2016

Offical Planetree Conference logo

Conference registration is now open!

Register between now and June 1 and receive the early bird discount. Generous discounts also available for students and active volunteer members of Patient and Family Advisory Councils.

Register Today!

Hear What Others Are Saying

Accepting Presentation Proposals

Are you looking for ways to engage with fellow person-centered care champions in richer and deeper ways? Are you seeking new avenues to share your work, wisdom and experience? Are you eager to grow professionally or personally by presenting your work to an international audience? If yes, make 2016 the year you ramp up your participation the 2016 Planetree International Conference on Patient-Centered Care! There is a range of ways to participate as a conference presenter, with different session types geared toward specific presentation styles and types of content.

Planetree is currently accepting proposals to present Solutions Sessions, Transformation Testimonials, Experiential Sessions and Poster Sessions at the 2016 International Conference on Patient-Centered Care. The deadline to submit is March 31, 2016. Find out everything you need to know about submitting a proposal to present here.


Ten Most Read Planetalk Articles in 2015

Last year, topics covered in Planetree’s online newsletter Planetalk included practical strategies and tools for enhancing patient and family engagement, patient stories to ensure we all remain attuned to the very human side of patient-centered care, strategies for creating a workplace culture that effectively harnesses the talents and insights of all team members, and organizational case studies to demonstrate the impact of Planetree in action. Compiled here is a list of the ten most read articles from 2015. All the articles are archived on this site.

Announcing New Partner Office

Announcing New Partner Office

We are very pleased to announce the official opening of our fifth international office, Planetree América Latina, located in Santiago, Chile and serving Spanish-speaking organizations.  The newest office joins our other regional offices located in Brazil, Quebec (Canada), the Netherlands, Germany and the United States.

Planetree Latina Ameria Contract SigningThe Chile office is headed by Etel M. Veringa, MD, PhD.  Dr. Veringa has a passionate drive for promoting patient-centered care, and we are very excited about this additional office to the Planetree family!

Designing Loneliness out of the Patient Experience

Designing Loneliness out of the Patient Experience
By Darien Kadens Ph.D., MBA – Director of Research, Healthcare and Principal Health Outcomes Scientist, Sodexo USA and Thomas Jelley M.Sc., LL.B. – Director, Sodexo Institute for Quality of Life

For many patients and seniors, loneliness is a significant feature of a healthcare experience that is exacerbated by exposure to the unfamiliar and which contributes to a heightened sense of vulnerability. Factors include the aseptic environment and technical language of healthcare professionals, processes and routines often far removed from daily life.  The quantity and quality of social interaction are also often reduced with an impact on the quality of life of patients, older adults, families, carers and workers.

What is loneliness?
Loneliness is often defined in subjective terms and can be considered with reference to three dimensions[1]:

  • an absence of intimate connectedness (i.e., lack of intimate, romantic relationship, lack of connection with immediate family members);
  • an absence of relational connectedness (i.e., lack of authentic friendships, lack of people that one can confide to; lack of social support); and
  • an absence of collective connectedness (i.e., lack of belongingness to referent groups that one can identify with and call one’s own).

Objective considerations in the evaluation of loneliness include its impact on:

  • health-related wellbeing in relation to sleeping and eating disorders, substance abuse, increased susceptibility to disease, mental illness, depression and suicide;
  • financial wellbeing through unnecessary spending, unemployment and lower income; and
  • leisure wellbeing through excessive television watching or online gaming.

If we keep in mind the three levels of loneliness above based on proximity to the individual – a lack of intimate connectedness, the absence of relational connectedness and the absence of collective connectedness – the following framework[2] helps to explain the determinants of loneliness and its impact on quality of life.

Loneliness graphic

The determinants of loneliness in the framework above present a range of factors to consider. These vary from situational factors that may be recent or short term – which an individual can adapt to or which can themselves be adapted, to deeply embedded cultural or personality-based determinants that are more difficult to change. Nonetheless, the range of factors indicates that there are numerous perspectives from which to consider the causes of loneliness, and therefore many potential entry points to mitigate it.  Individuals’ experiences of care settings and care services are just one example.

[1] Cacioppo J. T. and Patrick W. (2008); Loneliness: Human nature and the need for social connection; WW Norton & Company

[2] Sirgy, M. Joseph (2014). Loneliness as experienced by the elderly: Construct, antecedents and consequences.  Presentation at the Sodexo Institute for Quality of Life Dialogue ‘Social interaction, loneliness and Quality of Life in healthcare and older adults’ care’, Ottawa, Canada, September 2014.

Services Spotlight

Person-Centered End-of-Life Care Series

Person-centered end-of-life care honors patients’ wishes, supports patients, families and healthcare teams in being on the same page about the patient’s preferences and priorities and strives to bring comfort to loved ones and staff members through the adoption of meaningful end-of-life practices and traditions.  Planetree’s Person-Centered End-of-Life Care curriculum is comprised of six modules each exploring a different component of end-of-life care, and imparting practical strategies for discussing and documenting end of life goals and wishes and ensuring those preferences are honored. The modules cover:

  • Introduction to Person-Centered End-of-Life Care: An overview of end-of-life practices, initiatives and reimbursement changes
  • Having the Conversation: Fitting end-of-life goals into the caring relationship
  • Chronic Disease, Palliative Care and End-of-Life: Honoring Preferences in complex cases
  • Supporting Staff with End-of-Life
  • Honoring Life: Memorializing persons through end-of-life practices and traditions

For more information, contact Jim Kinsey at 203-732-1365 or email

In addition, listen to the recently recorded webinar Advance Care Planning: From Compensation to Competence and Confidence to ensure your organization is prepared for the introduction of Medicare’s new billing codes and provider reimbursement rates for advanced care planning.

Care Partner Program Workshop

As a result of recent state and federal legislation, hospitals across the United States are being mandated by the Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable Act, also known as the CARE Act, to provide support for patients to designate an informal caregiver in their medical record, and to provide instruction and demonstration to help the family care partner better support the patient after discharge.  Though many hospital incorporate some of these activities as a part of discharge planning, the CARE Act requires that the processes be hard-wired and comprehensive, recognizing in statue the important role that a caregiver plays in caring for a patient when they leave the hospital. Better prepared care partners contribute to lower avoidable readmission rates.

In response to this recent legislation, and in continuance of our work with healthcare organizations around the world creating sustainable care partner programs, Planetree is offering customizable training and workshops to help hospitals be better prepared to meet this need.  Designed to be delivered in three 2-hour sessions to hospital leaders and/or team members responsible for development and implementation of their own organization’s CARE Act Care Partner Program, the series is easily modifiable for in-person delivery over one day. Whether from a single facility or multiple organizations, participants come together collaboratively and engage in learning, discussion, planning, and design activities during and between modules.

For additional information and to schedule Care Partner Education for your organization contact:

Cathy Desautels, RN, MBA
Senior Experience Advisor

To learn more, follow this link to register for the upcoming webinar, Implementing a Care Partner Program: The Epitome of Family Engagement, on February 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm EST.

In Memoria of Joe Parimucha

In Memoria of Joe Parimucha: A Planetree Healing Environments Pioneer

Joe-ParimuchaI never had the pleasure of meeting Joe Parimucha in person. However as both a healthcare designer myself in my previous work and during my current tenure as a member of the Planetree organization and liaison to our Planetree Visionary Design Network (PVDN), I was certainly aware of his reputation as a design pioneer and of the many contributions he made to the field of Patient and Resident Centered Design.  Any time the design industry loses one of its great talents, there is a perceptible void. This is especially true when that great talent devoted his life and his work to creating designs for environments that facilitate providing patients and continuing care residents both dignity and a sense of control during a time when they often feel their circumstances provide them very little of either. Because I did not know Joe personally, I did not feel as though my attempt to eulogize him would nearly due justice to the legacy he left us.  For that I turned to other Planetree Patient Centered Design Pioneers that were willing to share their memories of Joe and thoughts on his passing.  – Lisa Platt, MS, EDAC, LEED AT BD+C, Director of Business and Product Development, Planetree

Marc Schweitzer, M.Arch, AIA; Sr. Project Architect, Patient Experience Specialist; Stafford King Wiese Architects; Planetree Visionary Design Network Founding Member and Planetree Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

M SchweitzerJoe’s life work has been to prove that design can impact human outcomes. My experience is that Joe’s simple presence at any gathering impacted everyone attending.  Joe’s charisma and obvious delight in life inspired camaraderie and collaboration among others.

I knew Joe from working together with his wife, Barbara Huelat, on the Planetree Visionary Design Network.  At every meeting Joe contributed his insights into both what made an environment healing as well as how to organize our efforts to bring out the very best from everyone involved.  Joe spoke quietly but had a great influence on the PVDN’s direction.  His carefully considered comments always added depth to the discussion on patient-centered design, but more importantly perhaps, on how we could marshal ourselves to maximize our impact on the practice of healing healthcare design everywhere.

I will miss Joe’s warm and thoughtful presence at these PVDN meetings – and his camera!  Joe served as our unofficial documentary photographer.  He brought his camera to every meeting and his images show his personal warmth and joy reflected by his subjects.  Thanks to Joe we have a visual record of the camaraderie at our gatherings.  Without Joe some of the pleasure will be missing from PVDN meetings.  But we will strive to make our work a testament to Joe’s belief in design as a tool for health and healing.

Rest in peace, Joe.  It is a great pleasure for me to have known you.

Phyllis (Kurtz) Goetz, EDAC, PVDN; Director, Strategic Programs and Services at Herman Miller Healthcare; Planetree Visionary Design Network Founding Member; Planetree International Conference Collaborator and Healing Design Continuing Education Developer

P GoetzJoe Parimucha was one of the most charming humble men you could ever meet and I know that he is now surrounded by loved ones and at peace.  The lives he has impacted both by his work and his life are innumerable and his best friend, his wife, Barbara Huelat, was the love of his lifetime.

I first met Joe when I invited Barbara to join me at a Planetree Conference.  She couldn’t make it, but offered to have Joe join me. Little did I know that those days with Joe would begin my love affair with an amazing man and his wife.  Joe and Barbara credit me with bringing them back to Planetree. You see, they were involved very early and have always put the patient first in all their design and architectural work, but truly, they have impacted me in so many ways.  Joe’s delight in seeing how Planetree had developed and his joy in the great work of serving the patient, family and staff was nothing short of contagious.  Joe could always be found with a camera in his hands and a smile on his face and his dedication to his work and to the patients we all serve was paramount in all he did.

The emptiness created by losing Joe will never be filled, although those that he impacted with his passion for a better healthcare environment and creating beautiful spaces will hold his memory dear to our hearts.  Joe, you will always be with me and I hope that the work I, and the entire PVDN complete, will honor your memory and serve as a tribute to your beliefs, you will be missed my friend!

Leveraging the Human Factor in Healthcare Performance

Leveraging the Human Factor in Healthcare Performance: Highlights from the 2015 International Planetree Conference
By Lisa Platt, MS, CPC-PI, CSSBB, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C, Planetree Director of Business & Product Development

Being a Planetree staff member during the month of October, the hallmark of Patient Centered Care Awareness month and, of course, the longest running conference worldwide in patient centered care, e.g. the legendary Planetree International Conference, is a little like what I imagine being part of the production crew of a major Broadway musical must be like.  All of us are working to champion and promote the work of our remarkable affiliates and partners on the world’s largest stage solely dedicated to Patient and Resident Centered Care, while simultaneously ensuring those participants relatively new to this event are getting the very most out of their experience.  I believe any of us that have been repeatedly immersed in this annual occasion can attest it is both heady and exciting, with so many moving parts and opportunities for learning that it helps to take stock of our own personal knowledge gains after we’ve had a chance to return back to the everyday “life as we know it” mode for a while.  This was certainly true for me given the abundance of incredible content that this year’s conference held.

Patient-Centered Performance Improvement Conference Session Recap

One of the focuses of our many conference learning tracks is “Patient Centered Performance Improvement.” Because that is the world I live in on a regular basis, it is admittedly a topic I gravitate to every year during this occasion.  I am always eager to learn what new and innovative ways our affiliates and partners are using to engage patients, residents, and families in co-designing care improvement.  This year certainly did not disappoint.  I came away, once again, inspired by the seemingly endless creativity that our presenters and panelists shared with us regarding how they mobilize and maintain continuous improvement in their respective organizations. PCPI 1

The panel discussion led by Planetree’s Christy Davies with patient centered performance improvement subject matter experts Teresa Robinson from Central Peninsula Hospital, Joan Stephens from Maury Regional Medical Center, and CarolAnne White from Longmont United Hospital offered some enlightening ways that these three facilities coupled performance improvement techniques with unit led initiatives as a pathway to achieving Planetree Designation.

The brilliant and ebullient Marge Rogan, from Planetree Bronze Recognized Northport VAMC demonstrated how their high performing hospital makes Veteran-Centered improvement visible through ongoing incremental environmental enhancements and signal detection.

Dr. Ken Dobuler of Planetree’s flagship hospital Griffin Hospital and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine along with Kathleen Martin, Vice President, Patient Safety and Care Improvement at Griffin Hospital discussed how they are pursuing “High Reliability with a Heart” in their efforts to improve both patient quality and experience of care.

Ilkay Baylam from Anadolu Medical Center, a John Hopkins affiliate hospital located in Gebze, Kocaeli, and Istanbul shared the compelling story of how he is using his own experience as a new father who recently had his newborn son spend a prolonged period of time in their NICU.  Typical of the character we have come to expect and respect of our Patient Centered Partner in Turkey, he is using this deeply personal episode to meaningfully improve and inexorably change families’ experience of care paradigm in their hospital. You can read more about his efforts here .

Our valued partner in Human-Centered Design and Visionary Design Network pioneer Herman Miller, discussed how adaptive and resilient environment of care infrastructure can be instrumental in guiding consistent patient centered care delivery performance.

PCPI 2Finally, I personally had the unique pleasure of co-facilitating a Masterclass with one of Planetree’s new partners in the United Kingdom, Inspiration NW.  We discussed how the symbiosis of stories and statistical analysis can offer a reliable approach that is both sympathetic and systems based. We demonstrated tools and techniques for gathering the stories behind the data and why this is critical for understanding where and how to leverage improvement based resources. There were several others and I have been slowly but surely wending my way through the many other presentations that were also focused on Patient and Resident Centered Improvement. Continue reading “Leveraging the Human Factor in Healthcare Performance”

Planetree Polls Explore What Matters Most to Patients

Planetree Polls Explore What Matters Most to Patients

The results of a series of Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month polls exploring patients’ preferences for healthcare underscores that a patient-centered approach to care must be individualized.  Making assumptions or generalizing about patients’ preferences – even when done with the best of intentions to provide a patient-centered care experience – can undermine those very efforts.  That’s why integrating systems for inquiring about and documenting patient preferences is a critical element of patient-centered care delivery.  Doing so standardizes processes for collecting and using this information to truly personalize care based on what we learn about each individual with whom we interact.

What did we learn from the informal polls conducted during Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month? Continue reading “Planetree Polls Explore What Matters Most to Patients”

Two Sides of a Coin

Two Sides of a Coin: Being a Patient’s Family & Being the Provider
By Ilkay Baylam, Patient Relative & Manager, Patient-Centered Care, Anadolu Medical Center, Turkey

It was a warm Los Angeles morning when I met with this couple over breakfast at the hotel where I was staying. Jane, an English teacher and Michael, a mechanical engineer, living in Austin were, like me, visiting LA.  We had a very nice conversation during breakfast, after which Jane told me that she wanted to pray for me and inquired if I had a wish for the prayer. “Sure,” I said. I told her about my presentation that would take place in a week in Boston at Planetree’s Conference. “I feel confident, however it is going to be on the 13th” I said. She promised me she would pray for my presentation. It was in hindsight after our special conversation that I realized how long it had been since somebody had offered to do something unconditional for me. On the one hand, it was heart breaking. On the other hand, it gave me hope. I am going to tell you about my presentation in this article which I think Jane’s prayer has a role in.


I was working as my hospital’s Manager for Patient Centered Care when I learned the happy news: my wife was pregnant! We were all excited about the news and the endeavor we were about to begin. However, as days passed by we figured out that some things were not normal. My wife had to go through some genetics tests because of abnormal values at the blood tests and ultrasound images. We ended up going to a perinatologist for detailed follow up of the pregnancy. Tests followed other complicated tests and an amniocentesis had to be done.

Each time we were leaving the physician’s office, we were receiving bad news from the perinatologist and I had to comfort my wife as I tried to pay the bill. I then recognized the lack of compassion from our patient clerks. They were so much focused on getting the provision from the private insurance company that they were missing the point: the place I needed to be at that time was with my wife, not at a hospital counter. Pregnancy is like a long term contract with a provider. Sooner or later the patient will come back and the patient clerk can collect the receivable afterwards.

At those times when we were absorbing the bad news delivered to us, we needed to find a private place for ourselves.  A place where my wife could cry and I could comfort her. However, in the absence of such a place, every scene occurred in front of everybody and I had to drive her out of the hospital immediately. Think about your elevators, about waiting areas. Do you not see patients and their relatives in sorrow in those public areas? Why not build shelters for those who need it and provide social support during this time?

Continue reading “Two Sides of a Coin”

Connecticut Planetree Hospitals Leading the State in Quality and Safety

Connecticut Planetree Hospitals Leading the State in Quality and Safety

The only two Planetree Designated Patient-Centered Hospitals in the state of Connecticut – Griffin Hospital in Derby, CT and Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT – have both recently been recognized by two national healthcare organizations for continued excellence in quality and safety.  They are the only two Connecticut hospitals to receive this dual recognition this Fall 2015.

Leapfrog & Joint CommissionBoth Griffin Hospital and Stamford Hospital were named a 2014 “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®” this month by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of healthcare organizations in America.  The two hospitals were also each honored with an “A” grade in the Fall 2015 update to the Hospital Safety Score by The Leapfrog Group, an independent hospital safety rating organization whose Hospital Safety Score is the gold standard rating for patient safety.

These achievements by two leaders in patient-centered care further asserts that the foundation for patient-centered excellence is first and foremost safe, high quality care.