April 22, 2005

Smith brings skills in family care to VUH

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Terrell Smith

Smith brings skills in family care to VUH

Terrell Smith has been named to the new position of director of Patient/Family Centered Care for Vanderbilt University Hospital. She was formerly administrative director for Family Centered Care and Liaison Services with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. In her new role, Smith reports to assistant hospital director Charlotte Chaney.

Patient/family centered care includes patient and family collaboration at all levels of health care, making the clinical environment flexible and responsive to patient and family needs, preferences, and priorities, and providing emotional support to meet the needs of patients and families.

“We've seen such wonderful success with the Children's Hospital initiative for patient and family centered care, and that helped us conclude that we need this added focus on the adult side as well,” Chaney said. “Terrell designed the program for the Children's Hospital and we're excited that she agreed to lead this new program for VUH.”

Chaney said the new program will link with elevate, VUMC's broad effort to improve service and operational performance. She said the new program may be patterned in part after the Children's Hospital program, and will also be shaped by findings from upcoming focus groups involving patients, families, staff and faculty.

Smith's mother, before her recent death, spent several weeks as a patient at VUH. Smith said the experience of caring for her mother awoke her to opportunities to enhance support for families of VUH patients.

“It was clear to me that it didn't matter if the patient is a 5-year-old, or, like my mother, a 95-year-old — the need for family involvement in care is much the same,” she said.

Smith said she has been very encouraged to find that many areas of VUH have already begun to work toward family centered care. “The hospital and the clinic are poised to make advances in this regard,” she said.