Putting Patients First

Griffin Hospital's philosophy focuses on the whole person and empowers patients to be a part of the decision-making process about their care.

Putting patients first is at the heart of Griffin Hospital in Derby.

The community hospital was established in 1909 to serve the health needs of residents of the Lower Naugatuck Valley and vicinity.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and the award-winning, 160-bed hospital serves as the international headquarters for Planetree, a patient-centered model of health care.

The waiting room was designed for the planned Interventional Radiology Suite at Griffin Hospital. Photo courtesy of Griffin Hospital.

The philosophy focuses on the whole person and empowers patients to be a part of the decision-making process about their care. It was first put into use at Griffin in 1992.

According to the hospital's website, "Griffin Hospital is the flagship of the Planetree network of hundreds of hospitals in the United States, Canada, South America, Japan, and the Netherlands."

The hospital continues to grow in its ability to serve patients through the use of highly advanced medical technology.

In 2013 Griffin received a three-year, $200,000 grant from the Valley Community Foundation - The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven's partner in philanthropy that serves the five towns of Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton.

The grant is funding a major renovation project to create an Interventional Radiology Suite. The current equipment is more than 20 years old.

Physicians and administrators are thrilled about the project, and more than eager to talk about it.

Dr. Davika Jajoo, chair of the hospital's radiology department, said the suite will feature "state-of-the-art" technology and will be a big improvement over what physicians had been using.

"This puts us on the same level as Beth Israel (Hospital) in Boston," she said. The technology will offer what patients need in a community setting and in an environment with which they are familiar, Jajoo said.

Christine Cooper, Interventional Radiology Service manager, said technology scheduled to be delivered in January is a General Electric fluoroscopy machine.

Construction workers are currently hard at work creating the room that will house the equipment. After that, work will begin on a new surgical recovery area, nurses' stations, waiting room, and more. The suite will be located on the hospital's ground floor.

The patients' perspective is the focus of the design process since staff started planning the project in early 2015.

Cooper said the planning included focus groups made up of past Griffin patients who offered their input on creating a soothing environment.

"The level of detail has been thought through," Jajoo said. The goal is to make the patient's experience as easy as possible.

"We will be able to do things for the patient right here, at the right time," Jajoo continued. The technology will help to increase the quality of life and increase the survival of patients, she said.

Some of the procedures that radiologists will be able to perform using the new equipment are:
  • Chemoembolization: chemo treatment delivered directly to the tumor
  • Angioplasty: the opening of narrow or blocked vessels
  • Biopsy: taking tissue samples
  • Embolization: blocking abnormal blood vessels to stop internal bleeding
Officials said the equipment also will enhance the hospital's capacity as a peripheral stroke center, provide greater clarity of imaging to enhance the detection of abnormalities, and expose patients to lower levels of radiation.

Marge Deegan, vice president, ambulatory services, said it is through the efforts of the Valley Community Foundation that this project has materialized.

The hospital collaborates with Jefferson Radiology for its radiology services.

For more information about Griffin see the hospital's profile on giveGreater.org®.

Did you know?

Griffin Hospital is the only hospital to be named on FORTUNE Magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for 10 consecutive years.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.