Plantree Carnival Emphasizes Health for the Mind, Body and Soul

SaraKate Hammer and Anna Short provide information about the Bayhealth Patient Advisory Council during the carnival

On Saturday, June 25 Bayhealth held their PlanetreeCarnival at the Grier Building at Milford Memorial Hospital. The event was free to the entire community and emphasized Bayhealth’s effort to empower their patients and create a healing environment that focuses on a holistic approach to health. The first annual Planetree Carnival centered on Bayhealth’s continuing efforts to improve its patient-centered philosophy inside and outside of the hospital.

“The Planetree Carnival gives our entire community an opportunity to learn more about our Planetree model of care. We provide a unique perspective for everybody who wants to understand patient-centered care,” said Planetree Carnival Committee Chair Donna Smeltzer.

According to Smeltzer, Planetree is a holistic approach to health care encompassing the healing of the mind, body and spirit. Planetree empowers patients through information and education, encourages more active participation by patients, and emphasizes healing partnerships among caregivers, patients, and their families.

The Planetree Carnival provided informative and interactive displays from a variety of Bayhealth teams involved with patient centered care, including Child Life, Spirituality, Diversity, Patient Access, Arts & Entertainment, Aromatherapy and Volunteer Services. Pet-assisted therapists showcased how animals promote healing. Free health screenings illustrated why proactive care is essential to good health. Clowns and entertainers demonstrated why laughter may, in fact, be the best medicine.

As a part of the Planetree philosophy Bayhealth encourages individuals to read their medical records or inpatient chart while they are in the hospital. By contacting the nurse or doctor patients can view their medical records at any time. A Patient Journal is provided so that patients may write down any questions or important reminders for their medical providers. These steps are taken in an attempt to empower patients during their stay and help them to fully understand their experience.

The Spirituality Team at Bayhealth assists patients and their families in experiencing their own spirituality and faith while they are in the hospital. The White Rose Program presents a white rose to bereaved Bayhealth employees and a White Rose Card is placed on the door of a dying or recently deceased patient to inform staff so they may give the family undisturbed time with their loved one. The spiritual team also provides on-going spiritual care to staff and patients including a blessing of the hands, multi-cultural prayer books and candle lighting available in the chapels and encouraging staff members to utilize their unique spirituality to care for others.

The Patient Advisory Council supports Bayhealth’s mission to improve the health status of all members of the community by offering a patient and family perspective. Former patient and family members attend bimonthly meeting to provide feedback on current policies and offer new ideas. Some of the council’s contributions include essential items for the gift shops, assisting with planning the healing garden at Bayhealth, recommending the start of an on-site pharmacy and reviewing and approving updates for the Patient Directed Visitation Policy.

“The Planetree philosophy empowers our patients and family members by giving them opportunities to enhance the relationship between the patient and our staff.” said Bayhealth Vice President of Customer Service Rich Butto.

The Planetree approach to patient care focuses on the healing of mind, body and spirit to improve a patient’s health while at Bayhealth. More information can be found visiting