Good Samaritan Hospital earns honor for patient care

Good Samaritan Hospital, pictured here in 2003, has become the first hospital in Nebraska, and one of only 22 in the nation, to be designated by Planetree Inc. as a patient-centered hospital.

KEARNEY, Neb. — Good Samaritan Hospital has become the first hospital in Nebraska, and one of only 22 in the nation, to be designated by Planetree Inc. as a patient-centered hospital.

The designation from the Derby, Conn.-based nonprofit organization recognizes Good Samaritan’s innovative patient-centered care. The hospital is one of only 45 health-care organizations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Europe to receive the honor since it was created in 2007.

Hospital executives learned the news last week and quickly informed the members of the committee that pushed for the designation.

“A cheer went up, and I saw so many eyes shining with tears,” said Marsha Wilkerson, director of corporate communications. “We’ve worked so hard. We believed in this.”

The award defines Good Samaritan as “a hospital where patient comfort, dignity, empowerment and well-being are prioritized with providing top-quality clinical care,” Planetree President Susan Frampton said.

Good Samaritan Hospital President Mike Schnieders described the designation as an honor.

“The heart of Planetree’s mission — providing person-centered care in a holistic healing environment — goes hand-in-hand with our central focus at Good Samaritan Hospital,” he said. “To be one of only 45 facilities in the world with Planetree designation is truly a reflection of our staff’s dedication to putting the patient first.”

Carol Wahl, vice president of patient care services, has led the hospital’s effort to adopt the Planetree philosophy since she joined the staff in 1998. The hospital has followed the Planetree philosophy since 2001.

In April, the hospital submitted a 190-page application. That work was directed by Ellen Gitt, the hospital’s Planetree coordinator.

Planetree reviewed the hospital’s performance on patient satisfaction and quality-of-care measures and on what focus groups of patients, family members and health-care professionals said matters most.

Wahl knew that Good Samaritan had an excellent chance of achieving the designation because “our application was so complete. We had met the criteria.”

Schnieders said, “At Good Samaritan Hospital, you see our Planetree philosophy in action in many ways, including our animal-assisted therapy programs; the Walkway Gallery that displays regional artists’ works; the healing power of food, aromatherapy and massage therapy; the way we purposefully involve families in the care plan; and so much more.”

Wahl said, “This is an affirmation to employees that we are a patient-centered hospital.”

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