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Patient Advisor Partners Boost Positive Patient Experiences

Magnolia residents Jim and Vicki Urb typically observe Christmas Eve somewhat untraditionally, but keep the spirit of the season: they volunteer at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus distributing hand-crafted afghans and lap robes. Not only are the Urbs long-time volunteers – about 20 years between them – they are active Bayhealth Patient Partnership Advisors (PPA).

The 20-member PPA committee represents both Bayhealth’s Kent and Sussex campuses and meets regularly -- virtually now – to provide our patients and their families with the best possible experience.

The Advisors are not healthcare professionals; they represent the community as former patients, some of whom may have had a less than optimal experience.

“We put ourselves in the position of the patient, and we give input about the patient experience,” said Mrs. Urb.

Another Advisor, retired firefighter, paramedic, and EMT Thomas Leeper of Milford is also a patient receiving ongoing treatment at Bayhealth’s Sussex Campus. “This is what I want to get involved in. I can have positive interactions with the patient-care teams, help improve things. I feel like I could add something,” he said.

The Partnership is a win-win for everyone, according to Bayhealth’s Director Patient Advocacy, Service Excellence and Professional Recruitment Marianne Foard, MS, RN, NE-BC, PRC.  “We offer an opportunity to participate in multiple venues; we invite them in to serve as a voice for patients. It provides the ability to solicit feedback – to see what’s working well and what we can improve.”

During their 2-year terms, these advocates do more than attend meetings! Members serve on councils, such as the Ethics Committee, the Whiteboard Rounding for Care Partner, and the Planetree Gold Steering Team. “They are very nimble on how they serve. They have different areas of expertise and personal experiences. They are driven to support Bayhealth and want to create solutions to improve the patient experience,” said Foard. 

In fact, the Advisors’ organization may boost Bayhealth’s status in the outgoing quest for Planetree’s Gold designation, a three-year formal process to earn the highly coveted recognition. After the application is submitted in August, the results will be announced in early 2022.

Members of the community interested in becoming an Advisor can reach out to Bayhealth Patient Advocacy at or call 302-774-7085.

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