Bayhealth Spirit of Planetree Awards

Spotlighting Staff Who Go Above and Beyond

Thursday, July 9, 2020 | All Categories, Awards and Recognitions

The Spirit of Planetree Awards recognize those who go above and beyond to promote person-centered care and improve the patient experience. The awards, which are given annually and are based on nominations, include Caregiver, Physician Champion and Pet Therapy Animal.

The 2019 winners were recently selected, and they are:

Bayhealth Spirit of Planetree Winner Akiya LewisCaregiver: Akiya Lewis
Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus

One nominator wrote: “Akiya is constantly rounding on patients, offering little comforts that mean so much to them. She extends that same care to the patient’s family and visitors. She consistently goes above and beyond for her patients and coworkers to make sure her unit, 5A, is the best possible place to be. Supporting her teammates and peers means providing person-centered care because she knows that when they are taken care of, they can take better care of their patients.”

Bayhealth Spirit of Planetree Winner EdmondsonPhysician Champion: Loretta Edmondson, MD
Bayhealth Hospital, Sussex Campus

One nominator shared the following comment from a patient: “Dr. Loretta Edmondson truly cares about her patients and their family members. I am sure I would not be here today if she were not my doctor. She is a true activist for her patients and makes sure they receive the best care possible, stepping in to call specialists and/or insurance companies if needed.”

Bayhealth Spirit of Planetree Winner BrutusPet Therapy Animal: Brutus

One nominator wrote: “Brutus and his owner, Sharon Conley, are a team in a true sense of the word. They mentor new pet therapy groups, cheer on veteran teams and ensure all they meet have a better day. On any given day, they will come into contact with approximately 60 patients, visitors and staff members. When the Child Care Center requested pet therapy teams visit during the Week of the Young Child, Sharon and Brutus were there spreading love and snuggles to more than 90 students.”

John J FinkPhysician Champion: John Fink, MD
Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus

One nominator wrote: “Throughout his career, Dr. Fink has been intimately involved with quality improvement projects at the clinics, private offices, hospitals, and nursing homes where he has worked. Even though he is now part of administration and sees patients on a part-time basis, he still will take the time to respond to a patient’s needs. Dr. Fink is easily approachable and open to new ideas that will improve patient outcomes and the patient experience. He is a true role model for person-centered care at Bayhealth for physicians, staff and his patients because of his passion, patience, approachability, respect, and expertise.”


Planetree SilverFor more than four decades, Planetree International has maintained a focus on creating a standard of person-centered care to humanize the patient experience to improve outcomes. Planetree is a not-for-profit organization that helps patients, families and staff members deliver care from the patient’s perspective.

Its mission is to inspire caregivers to make patients their true partners in their care, with hopes to change the culture of healthcare and revolutionize the industry. Planetree introduced their recognition level in 2012, and since then Bayhealth has been awarded Silver Certification for Excellence in Person-Centered Care.

This prestigious honor marks Bayhealth as one of only three healthcare organizations in the U.S., and one of seven internationally, to be designated with Silver Certification. Bayhealth’s drive doesn’t end there — we’re aiming for Gold Status.

There were several areas where Bayhealth transcended, including patient-directed visitation, opportunities for patient and family input through patient partners, community access to health and wellness programs, family involvement in care through the Care Partner Program, and sensitivity around the cultural norms and preferences of patients.