WHEN Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City opened a Planetree unit, Steven F. Horowitz, MD, was grateful that he didn't have to make "apology rounds" any longer.
Gone were patients' complaints of no extra blankets, frigid rooms, or being treated disrespectfully. The Planetree concept of providing a personalized, nurturing environment not only helps patients heal physically but cushions the emotional jarring that can occur during hospitalization, says Horowitz, Beth Israel's chief of cardiology and director of the 3-year-old, 34-bed unit.
"Hospitals are concerned about continuous quality improvement. I've watched pathology departments proudly proclaim that they get most reports back [the same day]. But at the top of their algorithm is drawing blood at 5:30 AM. They might come [to the patient's bedside] unannounced and sometimes they're very callous. That experience can be traumatizing for the patient for the rest of the day."
What's needed, say Horowitz and other