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One Last, Year-End Look at the Passing Parade of People in the News : New Kind of TLC

December 26, 1985|BETH ANN KRIER

View has revisited some of the people and places it reported on in the last several months. Among them:

--Hollywood's Masquers Club, which because of declining funds sold its building and moved.

--Jimmy and Ricky Sperry, blinded in an accident 11 years ago, who received cornea transplants in August.

--Balu Natarajan, who triumphed over 167 other youngsters to win the National Spelling Bee in June.

"Patient-centered" care may soon be making its way to more hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other health care institutions as a result of pioneering work done at Planetree Model Hospital and Project at Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center in San Francisco.

Planetree, where patients stay in a unit that looks more like a condo than a hospital ward and are allowed to have whatever food they like, opened its doors on June 3.

Since then, according to Planetree administrator Robin Orr, dozens of health care institutions have been requesting information on how to re-create such Planetree features as:

--Free nutritional counseling and free packets of information on medical conditions, medical tests and medications.

--Twenty-four-hour visiting hours with facilities for family members to stay with patient.

--"Patient advocate" nurses, who teach patients how to read their charts and make their own notes on them.

--Non-interruption (where possible) of patients' preferred sleeping schedules by meals, tests or administration of medicines.

--Architecture and interior design intended to provide a warm, soothing effect believed to be conducive to healing.

And more.

Growing Interest

"We've heard from health educators, including the UCLA Department of Psychology which is interested in expanding a nursing home," said Orr. "We have heard from the vice president of a major pharmaceutical lab who's interested in the area of guest relations. San Francisco Hospice was interested in building a residential site for terminally ill patients and wanted our input on creating a non-institutional setting. We've heard from the National Commission on Nursing and from five hospitals that are interested in potentially implementing features of Planetree."

In its first four months of operation, more than 50 such requests were received, Orr said. Many more health care institutions will be exposed to the work done at Planetree as the Assn. of Western Hospitals has requested a presentation about the unit at its annual convention next April in Anaheim.

In the meantime, the features at Planetree, which was the subject of a September View story, are being fine-tuned and a few new ones have been added.

Orr said the problem of rivalry between Planetree nurses and other hospital nurses who believed Planetree nurses were an elite group is "turning itself around."

"People are now wanting to emulate us rather than be jealous and competitive," she said.

The general staff at Pacific Presbyterian also is being invited to join the festivities at Planetree--if they happen to be gourmet cooks. Lately, Orr said, the unit has been advertising in a hospital publication, looking for gourmet cooks willing to occasionally prepare healthful meals or snacks for the Planetree patients--on a volunteer basis. According to Orr, the gourmet ventures have been a success. In general, she said, there have been few complaints, and most of those have been accompanied by patients volunteering to make things better.

In one such case, a patient offered to rewrite the medical literature for patients, using more layman's language.

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