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Patient and family-centered care (PFCC) focuses on the interaction between people, and PFCC at Walter Reed Bethesda seeks to enhance the patient experience based on those interactions, explained Cmdr. Stephen P. Bromberek, chief of the Integrated Social Work Department at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).

To help improve the partnership among patients, families and health-care practitioners, Walter Reed Bethesda hosted several events focused on PFCC May 21-24 at the medical center. The events included panel discussions and presentations by wounded warriors, family members, staff and a guest speaker, all seeking to develop PFCC goals and strategies for WRNMMC to achieve better outcomes for patients and those intimately involved in their care.

"Engagement is the essence of the PFCC concept," Bromberek said, and John Carnes, father of a wounded warrior, Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Carnes, agreed.

During a warrior care panel discussion on May 23 in the America Building at WRNMMC, the senior Carnes expressed his "deepest and sincerest" appreciation for the care his 21-year-old son has received at Walter Reed Bethesda. The young Marine lost one of his legs after stepping on an improvised explosive device in November 2011 while serving in Afghanistan.

His father said there is an "acclimation process" for wounded warriors' families when they first arrive. He added there are "an abundance of amazing" support programs and services for families and non medical attendants to absorb.

"This is the premier care facility and there's nothing close to it," Carnes added. "You guys have been so kind to my son. It's an honor to be here and I'm proud to be an American."

Capping off the week's events focusing on PFCC was James Conway's presentation on May 24. A health care administrator and speaker on health care policies and principles, Conway discussed "The Power and Privilege of Patient Family-Centered Care, Exceptional Opportunities, Evolutionary Challenges." Conway said PFCC is "care based on continuous healing relationships that is customized according to the patient's needs and values." He said what is most important in patient family-centered care is recognizing the patient as the source of control, and that information and knowledge is shared between the patient, provider and family.

Conway said patients actively engaged in their care experience 50 percent less medical errors, according to a study done in Massachusetts.

Key concepts for PFCC are dignity and respect, in which providers listen and honor the patient's and family's perspective and choices, Conway continued. Other concepts for PFCC include information sharing, participation and collaboration by patients, families and providers.

Concluding the week's events, Col. Charles Callahan, WRNMMC's deputy commander and chief of staff, presented the Dr. Paul Florentino PFCC Excellence Award to staff of Walter Reed Bethesda's Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) ward. The award is named for the former National Naval Medical Center's deputy commander for medicine and board of directors' champion for the PFCC objective team, who passed away on June 19, 2011.

The TBI inpatient ward was recognized for their "persistent and determined" care of a Marine while actively involving his mother throughout his treatment. The staff provided extended care to the Marine and his mother, incorporating social work, physical therapy and occupational therapy and resulting in his physical improvement.

Bromberek said the care provided by the TBI staff exemplifies the PFCC concepts.

For more information about PFCC at Walter Reed Bethesda, contact Michael Joseph, chief, Patient Relations Service, at (301) 295-1018, or e-mail Michael.josephiii.civhealth.mil.