TONASKET – With the introduction of patient representatives to North Valley Hospital, patients and their families are now treated like VIPs.
The position was introduced to the district by Administrator Linda Michel, who learned about patient representatives first-hand while taking care of her mother at a hospital in Kentucky.
“When I came here, I saw the need for patient representatives even in a rural hospital,” Michel said. “If the representatives are not busy, they greet customers at the door and then escort them to their destination. A large portion of their time is spent visiting every single patient every day and checking on their food, care, etc. If there are any issues, it’s the representatives job to resolve the issue before the patient leaves the hospital.”
Patient Representative Marcy Kalma said when patients come in, they are Very Important People.
“The patient is the most important person here and then their families are very important also,” Kalma said. “The goal is to make sure the care is excellent. The patients are being very receptive. We can talk to them about things they may feel they can’t bother their physician with.”
Michel said one major duty of the representatives is to be the communication link between the emergency room and the family.
“The representative is someone who takes information back and forth between the ER and the family and they stay with the family the entire time a loved one is in the ER,” she said. “We take very good care of our patients here but we haven’t done enough for the families. The patient representative is here to do whatever they can to help the families. It can be as simple as getting them a warm blanket to being with the family through a death.”
There are currently two patient representatives, Kalma and Peggy Casey, who work from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.