VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System embarked on their journey with Planetree and began moving toward a more Veteran-centered care approach back in October of 2009.
A full-time Chief Veteran Experience Officer/Planetree Coordinator was hired late February 2010, and informational sessions were rolled out to the staff in April by consultants from Planetree to help the staff understand the Planetree concept. In May the facility underwent their organizational assessment with both Veteran and staff focus groups and the final report was given to the Executive leadership in July. Information from the top areas that were identified will be addressed by a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee members are being selected and will be a mix of both leadership and staff with the first meeting being held in August.
The facility has also had the pleasure of having the Planetree architect visit in May to help with ideas and advice as the facility moves forward with many renovation projects that had been approved prior to starting Planetree. The Planetree Coordinator and facility Director attended Planetree Coordinator training in June. The facility has undergone their Planetree Leadership Retreats which were held the end of July and their first Staff Retreat/Facilitator Training the beginning of August where the first group of facilitators were trained and will be teaching the staff retreats to other employees within the facility starting the end of September. The Executive Leadership, Planetree Champions, and several staff members are looking forward to attending the Planetree National Conference in October.
Our Community Living Center has undergone renovations to create a more home-like environment for our Veterans. From their communal living space which looks more like a home living area to the choices they are given for their meals, Veterans are happier with the new changes that have been made. The lobby area of Primary Care has been updated and has a more welcoming feel for our Veterans when they enter the facility. Our newest Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Susanville, California, was built and decorated with the concepts of Planetree and the healing environment.
Also, the Reno VA Environmental Care section has taken on the initiative of reducing noise throughout the hospital. A major noise maker was identified as the trash carts and trash can dollies used throughout the hospital to pick up regular trash and biohazard waste. The Environment Care section is in the process of obtaining some prototype 'quiet' wheels to be put on the existing noisy carts and dollies. Decibel testing will be conducted to get the actual noise reduction obtained. Once this initiative is in place, it could spread to other areas such as Dietetics. These are just a few of the ways Planetree is being implemented at the facility and into the culture at the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System. Our mission has always been to provide “World Class Care and Service to America's Heroes” and our partnership with Planetree is continuing to help make this a reality for our Veterans and our staff.