Patient advocate meeting with patient

An Ear to Listen, a Shoulder for Comfort

Monday, September 30, 2019 |
A hospital visit or stay can be stressful. Feeling ill and needing medical care can be hard for both patients and their families. Many people may not realize Bayhealth has a team dedicated to helping patients and their families through their experiences at the hospital. The Patient Advocacy team at Bayhealth oversees all patient concerns in addition to services such as language interpreters and the clothing closet. The team intervenes, documents and escalates concerns for prompt and efficient service recovery.

“Our job is to see and anticipate the needs of our patients and make sure they are met,” said Lead Patient Advocate Jane Hewitt. “Our main goal is to ensure everyone has a positive, person- and family-centered stay while they are in the hospital.”

The patient advocates round on hospital patients daily. The patient advocates are known for getting creative to ensure patients have everything they need for their hospital stay.

“Our goal is to make sure any concerns are resolved before patients leave the hospital,” said Patient Advocate Kevin Gorski, who works alongside Hewitt at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus. “Having a positive stay at the hospital is all part of the healing process.”

The patient advocates work as a team alongside clinical staff members, chaplains and volunteers to help meet the needs of our patients. While the team ideally handles situations as they are happening, they also work with patients who want to share their experiences after they’ve left the hospital.

“When patients are in the hospital, they often feel like the situation is out of their control, and that can be hard,” said Patient Advocate Joan Myer (pictured below), who works at Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus. “We’re driven to ensure every patient who needs help gets it. We want our patients to know they are being heard and something is being done.”

Patient advocates often interact with both patients and their care partners — the friends and family members who help care for patients. “There is no better feeling than patients realizing we are working together with them and their care partner to ensure safety, quality and compassionate care,” said Hewitt.

“Our patient advocacy staff is empowered; we are dedicated to the patient experience, and capture the voice of the patient during each and every encounter,” said Director of Patient Advocacy, Service Excellence and Professional Recruitment Marianne Foard, MS, RN, NE-BC, PRC. “It truly is an advocacy art.”

If you would like to speak with someone from patient advocacy, you can call 302-744-7085 (Kent Campus) or 302-430-5126 (Sussex Campus).