Chances are there will be a time in each of our lives, when we will seek medical care from an emergency trauma department (ETD).  In the United States, over one third of all patients admitted to a hospital begin in this department. For patients coming for the first time it can be a frightening event.

During one of many visits to the ETD at Hackensack University Medical Center (HackensackUMC) a family member of a patient began to watch other family members or friends that were with their loved ones.  She saw that families were not always getting the attention they needed.  She saw they looked confused. They seemed overwhelmed by the number of people and the fast pace.

Seeking to help others, she decided to share her thoughts about her experience.  Mrs. Sandy Kissler contacted Dr. Joseph Feldman, Chairman of the ETD at HackensackUMC.  She explained how she believed that family members or friends are a very important part of helping patients heal. They need to be included in the care of their loved one. They need to understand what is happening and why things need to be done.  Also, she noticed they are often at the bedside for many hours and may need a break.

As a result of this meeting, the Gerald Kissler Institute for Family-Centered Care was created. This institute wants to ensure that our patients’ families and friends are our partners in care. This helps each of us as caregivers at HackensackUMC to provide the best plan of care for your loved one in the ETD.

The institute’s mission has several parts. One is to teach all caregivers about the importance of including family members and friends in their loved ones’s plan of care. Another is to give families information to help them understand the ETD.  This information includes the following:

  • How our emergency trauma department works.

  • Who is the staff that will be taking care of you? What is their role?

  • What is family-centered care?

  • What resources are available to you when you have a question or need to leave the bedside?

  • Where can you find health information about your loved one’s condition? Where is the information about what to expect if a procedure is necessary?

  • Where can you stay if you do not live locally in the area?  Where are places to buy a meal or snack?

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