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WSH -- Patient and Family Education Services


Patient/Family Education Services is a contracted education program through Pierce Community College.  The three instructors in the program are licensed and certified teachers for the state of Washington and provide academic education to referred patients throughout the entire hospital.

Two of the program’s teachers have education classrooms in the PTRC (Psychiatric Treatment Recovery Centers) within Central, East, South campuses and in the Forensic Unit as well.  Each classroom has approximately ten Pierce College computers for patient use.  The third teacher provides introductory classes to incoming patients, offering patient education materials about the hospital and treatment.  Accompanying this duty is to act as the chair to the Patient/Family Education Subcommittee, a committee that promotes all forms of patient education throughout the hospital.


Patient/Family Education provides literacy education, English as a Second language, GED preparation and testing, and computer skills.  Patients are assisted to increase their functional life skills and to increase their abilities to read and comprehend information especially related to their illness, treatment, and recovery. Each patient receiving these services has individualized learning and behavioral goals which are part of the treatment plan.  Pre and post testing are administered quarterly in order to measure outcomes.  The Patient/Family Education Subcommittee completes a quarterly report which reports the activities of the overall Subcommittee, as well as those of the Patient/Family Education Services.

Treatment and Services Provided

Patient/Family Education instructors assess patient learning, including reading level, within 30 days of admission.  Based on the results of the assessment and patient interest, services are then recommended if the patient’s literacy level is below a sixth grade reading level. Because an approximate 25% of patients are assessed below literacy levels, this can be an important issue in becoming more functional when returning to the community as well as understanding treatment while at WSH.  Patients may also choose to prepare for and take the GED test while at WSH.  Additionally, education to improve functional literacy for patients whose primary language is not English (ESL) is offered, as well as, basic computer literacy.  The director of this service distributes patient education materials to patients, family members, and staff and makes these materials available throughout the hospital at several locations, as well.  The director also assists to orient patients to the hospital by reviewing key resources, such as the Patient Handbook, within the framework of a brief Orientation class.


Patient/Family Education Services partners with the broader Patient/Family Education Subcommittee to develop educational materials such as diagnosis brochures, medication handouts for use throughout the hospital; to distribute patient education resource materials to patients; to create and update the Family Handbook, the Patient Handbook, the RSN specific Resource and Referral Guides, and the Recovery Handbook; to sponsor recovery oriented events such as the Recovery Speaker Series and the Recovery Fairs; and to create an intranet site of patient education tools for psycho-educational groups and individualized patient teaching.

Community Partnerships

Because the Patient/Family Education Services is a contracted program between Pierce Community College and WSH, many resources from Pierce are available to the hospital.  When we have sponsored events such as the Recovery fairs, community “vendors” are involved and family members and interested community providers attend.

Patient Education Resource Library located in building 25, second floor has a wealth of materials on a wide range of health and wellness topics and is available to patients, staff, and family members.

Questions or comments?

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Patient and Family Handbooks