Longmont United Hospital and Planetree
Planetree Inc. is a consumer healthcare organization dedicated to humanizing health care.
Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, sat under a sycamore tree
when he began teaching his medical students many centuries ago. The sycamore
tree is also known as a Planetree.
Longmont United Hospital is one of two hospitals in Colorado that is a
designated Planetree hospital. Planetree offers an innovative model of
healthcare that puts patients' needs first. Longmont United Hospital
joined the Planetree network of hundreds of hospitals in the United States,
Canada, South America, Japan and the Netherlands. Every aspect of care
at Longmont Hospital is shaped by Planetree principles—from our
welcoming, comfortable interiors to our emphasis on patient and family
education and involvement, to our exceptional healthcare. As a result,
Longmont United Hospital receives consistently high patient satisfaction
scores. The components of the Planetree model are designed to empower
patients, to foster their independence, to honor their humanity, and to
enhance the healing environment at a time when they often feel vulnerable
The primary focus of Planetree is to deliver healthcare in a manner that
works best for patients. In a patient-centered approach to healthcare,
providers partner with patients and their family members to identify and
satisfy the full range of patient needs and preferences. Patient-centered
care is the core of a high-quality health care system and a necessary
foundation for safe, effective, efficient, timely and equitable care.
The Planetree Philosophy
- that we are human beings, caring for other human beings
- we are all caregivers
- care giving 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 care
- 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
Human Interaction: Human beings caring for other human beings, creating a healing environment
for patients, families, and staff members.
Family, Friends, & Social Support contributes to the quality of the hospital experience by promoting caring
connections between the patients and their support systems.
Information & Education: Patients, families, and community members are provided with increased
access to meaningful information.
Nutritional & Nurturing Aspects of Food: Choice and personalized service, in combination with sound nutrition practices,
add pleasure, comfort, and familiarity.
Architecture & Interior Design: The Planetree design considers the patients' wellbeing. The hospital
is welcoming and accessible, providing clearly marked signs for direction,
comfortable and familiar rooms, and designs that engage the senses and
break down barriers.
Arts & Entertainment: Music, artwork and clowns offer engagement and enjoyment to enhance the
Spirituality: Planetree recognizes the vital role of spirituality in healing the whole
person. From our chaplains to meditation, hospitals can provide opportunities
for reflection and support of spiritual needs.
Human Touch: Touch reduces anxiety, pain, and stress, benefiting patients, families,
and staff members.
Complementary Therapies expand the choices offered to patients. Aromatherapy, pet therapy visitation
and massage are offered in addition to clinical modalities of care.
Healthy Communities expand the boundaries of health care. Working with schools, senior centers,
churches, and other community partners, organizations are redefining healthcare
to include the health and wellness of the larger community.
Longmont United Hospital incorporates the core components of Planetree
through the following programs and services:
Arts and Entertainment
Longmont United Hospital's Arts and Entertainment program provides
nutrition for the soul using arts (which are not limited to, but include
music and nature). The sounds of pianists, guitarists, harpists and other
musicians can be heard in the lobbies of the hospital. Story tellers,
computer access and free movies also help create an atmosphere of serenity
that promotes healing.
Caring for the Caregiver
Realizing that recognition is important to foster a collaborative work
environment, Caring for the Caregiver is an organizational philosophy
that is committed to promoting respectful communications, positive reinforcement
and acknowledgement needed to facilitate the care of the caregiver. Maintaining
a positive work environment, adequate recognition practices to reward
employees for a job well done and opportunities for staff betterment—whether
through wellness programs, educational programs or opportunities to decompress
from stressful moments—are commonplace at Longmont United Hospital.
Planetree has influenced design features at Longmont United Hospital in
consideration of the patient's well-being. The hospital is welcoming
and accessible, providing an optimal healing and nurturing environment.
Clearly marked signs for direction, the use of natural lighting, fish
tanks, carpeted floors, comfortable rooms and designs that engage the
senses and break down the barriers are just some of the unique design
elements. Patients can access home-like, non-institutional areas such
as unit-based kitchens, lounges, family spaces, garden and the Chapel,
which features inspirational stained glass windows.
As a community hospital, Longmont United Hospital doesn't just treat
illness but also serves to promote the overall health of our community
by working with schools, churches, service clubs and other local partners
to offer an extensive array of screenings, support groups and educational programs.
The quality of the hospital experience can be greatly improved by promoting
caring connections between the patients and their support systems. Effective
communication between all caregivers, patients and their families is a
vital element of good healthcare. Longmont United Hospital believes in
advocacy for all patients entrusted in their care so that they may find
emotional, physical and personal comfort.
Touch reduces anxiety, pain, stress and benefiting patients, families and
staff members. Longmont United Hospital's licensed massage therapists
are at the service of family members and co-workers to provide 'soft
touch' and therapeutic massages. Creating connections in a caring
and compassionate way promotes healing, comfort and inner peace.
A cornerstone of Longmont United Hospital's complementary therapies
is pet therapy. Pets can have a positive impact on a patient's recovery.
Volunteers from our local animal assisted therapy program visit patients
with their certified and trained pet therapy animals.
Nutrition is essential to healing. Food is needed not only for good health,
but also as a source of pleasure, comfort and familiarity. Custom-made
and culturally diverse meals are offered upon request. Good nutritional
practices are promoted through our dietitians to promote healthy eating
Patient Education / Access to Information
Striving to promote access and delivery of understandable health information
is of paramount importance to Longmont United Hospital staff. The Planetree
model is founded on the belief that if patients have access to information
regarding their illness and hospitalization, they can become active participants
in their own health. Patients, families and community members are encouraged
to be actively involved in decisions affecting their care and well-being
through access to meaningful information – whether that is when
reviewing medical records, medication materials, informed waiting practices,
diagnosis-related information and discharge instructions. All medical
chart information is available to patients 24 hours a day. Educational
materials are provided for those who wish to learn more about their illness,
diagnostic tests and medication.
Planetree recognizes the vital role of spirituality in healing the whole
person. Longmont United Hospital is committed to fostering an environment
of care that encourages each patient, family and staff member to utilize
their particular spiritual or religious path as a resource for health,
wholeness and healing. Our Chaplains coordinate meeting the spiritual
needs of our patients, family members and staff.
Incorporating the Planetree Model
The Planetree model is patient-centered rather than provider focuses and
is committed to improving medical care from the patient's perspective.
At Longmont United Hospital, patient and family lounges are on each unit.
Some lounges have full kitchens, to help create a more home-like environment.
Planetree was first introduced to Longmont United Hospital more than 10
years ago, so when we added on the West Tower in 2005, it was designed
and constructed around the Planetree philosophy.
In 2010, a Healing Garden was designed just outside our Cancer Center.
One of our physicians designed and created two benches for this garden
for visitors to rest. Family members donated a fountain and other garden
décor to create a peaceful atmosphere.
Another Planetree program was initiated from a patient's suggestion
to provide e-mail access for patients and their families. We have placed
computers with high-speed Internet connections in several areas of our
hospital so patients and family members can stay connected to their families,
jobs or friends.