Patient experience newsletter, Sept. 2019: COPE Team and patient comments

Monthly updates from the Office of the Patient Experience

The COPE Team: Your support structure

While the health care industry holds one of the highest rates of occupational stress, specific workplace events can trigger high stress levels. Stressed workers are at increased risk for work-related injuries, absenteeism, restricted work days, and even leaving their jobs. Occupational stress can also lead to and/or exacerbate a number of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

The mission of the COPE Team is “to provide emotional support to staff that have had a work related experience that might challenge their capacity to cope.” The team consists of chaplains, social workers, psychiatric nurses, physicians, nurse ethicists, and representatives from the Employee Assistance Program who offer spiritual, emotional, and empathetic assistance to the caregiver.

The COPE Team provides support through three tiers:

Tier 1: Peer support at the department/unit level providing one-on-one crisis intervention at the unit level. Peer supporters provide first line support to peers following a challenging event. Individuals who would like to be peer supporters complete Peer Support Training led by the COPE Team. The COPE Team has trained over 100 peer supporters in the past 2 years.

Tier 2: Peer support mentors and group facilitators who provide one-on-one crisis intervention, as well as mentoring unit/department peer supporters as they develop in their role. Tier 2 provides team support meetings (a.k.a., debriefings). A team support meeting is a gathering of any UI Hospitals & Clinics staff members and volunteers involved in a challenging event. A team support meeting is a confidential conversation that is facilitated by two trained members of the COPE Team.

Tier 3: A referral network of professionals such as the Employee Assistance Program, chaplains, and social workers for further support and resources. They ensure availability and expedite access to prompt professional guidance.

The COPE Team can be contacted 319-356-2758 or

Excellence Every Time

Sign up for a morning or afternoon session, Tuesday, Sept. 24, or Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

Patient comments about being included in decisions


  • “The pharmacist listened to me about my meds and allowed me to make decision about my meds.”
  • “I appreciate the provider looking at me when talking during my appointment. He is patient, answered all my questions, reviewed my medical issue in great detail, and gave me enough information so I could make a decision about when and if to have surgery.”
  • “My only therapy was walking, and they let me decide what I could stand which I think was more than they expected.”
  • “Appreciate the thorough discussion of health issues with an emphasis on encouraging my input and questions. Always leave appointment with confidence about the medical care received.”
  • “I am so happy to find a doctor who could honestly and in a caring way explain my treatment options and his recommendations.”
  • “My wife was taken very good care when she visited and was included in all issues and discussions.”
  • “We discussed next steps and it was done excellently.”
  • “Very knowledgeable, liked how he explained options.”
  • “Listened to difficulties, presented options for care, told me what he would and wouldn’t do.”

Missed the mark

  • “Back to the same old rant, during the hospital stay, the caregiver was not included in decision making.”
  • “Decisions were made for this patient and not discussed until after.”
  • “At times I felt powerless about my involvement in the decision-making process.”
  • “The doctor was pushing what she wanted, not what we wanted. She asked my mom to leave and then tried to talk me into changing my mom’s decision about a shot that my mom said no to.”
  • “Provider is not the greatest listener. I often have to reminder her about things in my child’s medical record and discussions with her can be challenging because I feel there isn’t a lot of willingness to consider the parent’s point of view.”
  • “Very little discussion or listening about my previous surgery on my back and complications that followed. Very poor explanation of what was seen in my x-rays taken that day. Very disappointing. NO listening about what I was wanting to accomplish or gain knowledge of about my current condition.”
  • “Discharge was confusing and stressful. Little, or conflicting, information. Snippy counselor. No real discussion of options or guidance.”
  • “Procedure rescheduled a couple times without any discussion with me.”
  • “Based on this experience, we will not be returning. He was disrespectful and mocked our concerns and attempted to take away our ability to choose other treatment options.”