Area Hospital Promotes Nurturing Environment

You go into a hospital expecting to be treated for a medical problem, not to enjoy the company of the staff or to relax in the comforting environment. But one medical center in our region focuses on healing that begins with nurturing the body, mind and spirit.

Rachel Allen, a certified music practitioner, plays for patients and their families throughout Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber.

“To be able to use music to comfort and aid suffering is certainly a privilege and a blessing, ” she said. She also leads walking meditation on the hospital grounds and teaches wellness and relaxation.

As you walk the halls of the medical center, you notice soothing artwork , much of it painted by a nurse who just enjoys creating it.

Senior Vice President and Chief Patient Care Officer Cindy LeComte said, “whenever someone feels they’re cared about, you decrease their stress level. Decreasing their stress, enables healing.”

Waiting rooms for families include a kitchen area where you can eat and use a computer to surf the web for fun or to research an illness. Patients can review own charts. Families can visit 24 hours a day.

These features go along with the designation of Windber Medical Center as a Planetree Hospital. It’s one of a group healthcare organizations that focus on creating patient-centered care in healing environments.

The healing environment extends to the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center on campus, where we ran into therapy dogs, that roam the grounds.

Erin Goins is a radiologist and a member of the hospital’s Planetree Committee. She said, “the Planetree philosphy, it doesn’t matter how big the hospital is. It doesn’t matter how much money the hospital has, what matters is how we treat patients.”

Lecomte said the hospital also rates highly, when it comes to patient outcomes.