About us: Planetree

What is Planetree, and where did it come from?

The Planetree philosophy was founded in 1978 by a patient, Angelica Thieriot, after several traumatic hospital experiences. Her experience left her with mixed emotions—the high-tech environment was commendable, but the lack of personalized care during her stay was appalling. Nurses hurried in and out of her room without becoming familiar with her as an individual, not to mention familiarizing themselves with her medical chart. She spent hours staring at blank walls, which left her feeling lonely and afraid.

She formulated her vision of a new type of hospital where patients get support and healing on all levels—a place where individuals could learn more about health care and medicine in order to become active participants in their own care and well-being. She founded the Planetree organization, taking it’s name from the tree that Hippocrates sat under to teach the first medical students in ancient Greece. In 1985, with the same commitment of Hippocrates, Planetree was created. A 13-bed medical/surgical unit in a large San Francisco medical center became the first Planetree unit in the country.

Since then, Planetree has been an internationally recognized leader in pioneering patient-centered care. Planetree has received national recognition, with feature articles in Prevention magazine, Healthcare Forum Journal, Hospital & Health Networks, Nursing Times, The New York Times, The Quality Letter for Healthcare Leaders, Health Facilities Management, Trustee Magazine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and Newsweek Japan.

In more than 100 health care settings throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, Planetree is demonstrating that patient-centered care is not only empowering as a philosophy but viable, vital and cost-effective as a practice. Planetree-affiliate-sites are currently operating in a variety of health care settings, with individual adaptations incorporated by each site to meet its unique needs. These affiliates range from small rural hospitals (as few as 25 beds) to large urban medical centers (as many as 2,163 beds), and include acute and critical care, emergency departments, long-term care, outpatient services, ambulatory care and community health centers.

Columbia Memorial Hospital became a Planetree-affiliated hospital on Dec. 26, 2000, and has been incorporating the Planetree philosophy throughout the hospital. Although much has been accomplished, we are continuing to expand our offerings as a Planetree hospital and are excited about the many changes planned for the future. From the redesign of interior spaces to the new Healing Garden; from open medical records to open visiting hours; and care partners to pet therapy, much has been accomplished in improving not only our patient experience but the staff experience as well. For more information about Planetree, visit their website at www.planetree.org.

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Patient holding dog