5 Questions with Nancy Read

Q&A with Largo hospital patients' advocate

Patient Raul Febres of Clearwater speaks with Nancy Read at Largo Medical Center. Read is manager of patient relations, volunteer services and a program to acquaint the community with the hospital.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Patient Raul Febres of Clearwater speaks with Nancy Read at Largo Medical Center. Read is manager of patient relations, volunteer services and a program to acquaint the community with the hospital.

Nancy Read isn't a doctor, but Largo Medical Center patients depend on her every day. As manager of patient relations, she works to help everyone feel welcome and important. Read heads the hospital's VIP program. Begun in 2002, this cooperative effort among departments seeks to help patients and their families experience personal, patient-oriented care.

1 You are known as a patient advocate. What does that mean? I have a special group of volunteers that go visit patients and welcome them to the hospital. We give them a brochure and a special phone number to call if they need anything. We want our patients and their families to be happy.

2 What kinds of requests do you receive? It is often small things, like a newspaper or magazine for people who have come to the hospital without money to buy them or don't have any family here to bring it to them. I have a basket of items such as shampoo, toothpaste, denture cleaner and even hearing aid batteries. Sometimes I stop on the way home to pick up a small thing someone requests that I don't have in the basket. Other times nurses will refer a problem to me if a family is not happy with something.

3 What kinds of problems might be referred? Emergencies happen and scheduled procedures get pushed back and there might be a lengthy delay. I might need to find answers and explain what is going on. People are not always happy, but at least they know. It is the not knowing that makes people frustrated and sometimes angry. I often get calls to please visit with someone. Just being there to comfort people when they are alone. I visit patients every day. I feel you need to do whatever you can to help people who are sick and their families, too.

4 What other services might you perform? I am a notary and am often asked to notarize documents. I locate hairdressers and barbers to come in for people who have been hospitalized for a long time. Occasionally we get someone's clothes washed or provide clothing for them to go home in. The nurses call me if a patient is having a birthday or anniversary. We bring cake to the room with balloons and the nurses sing. We had a patient who turned 100 while here. I got the CEO and about eight of us went to her room with cake, balloons, a card and we sang to her. She was thrilled. She was alert and amazing for 100 years old.

5 You seem to have a passion for this job. What makes it special? If you like people and you want to help, you get great satisfaction. I have a wonderful job. It is rewarding.

LaRita Jacobs, Times staff writer

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About Largo Medical Center

• Built in 1978.

• 256-bed acute care hospital.

• All private patient rooms.

www.largomedical.com/

Q&A with Largo hospital patients' advocate 07/08/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 8:25am]

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