Cedars-Sinai Blog

Healthcare Heroes: Patient Relations

Now entering into the fifth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff at Cedars-Sinai continues to work around the clock caring for patients. 

The patient relations team is no exception. This small but mighty team of 17 helps patients and their loved ones navigate both inpatient and outpatient care. 

"Being able to tailor their needs and provide the care that they need on a daily basis is very special."

"Our main goal in patient relations here at Cedars-Sinai is to make things easier, not only for our patients and our visitors, but for our nursing staff," says Lidia Toledo, director of patient relations. 

Team members are patient advocates and act as the liaison between the patient and all departments and services within the medical center.

Much of their job includes problem-solving and helping to address concerns patients have during their hospital stay. They also assist with crisis interventions and help loved ones during times of grieving.  

"I'm able to manage a patient's experience from the moment they walk in," says Gena Smith-Woods, patient relations representative at the Samuel Oschin Cancer Center. "Being able to tailor their needs and provide the care that they need on a daily basis is very special. 

While many teams have shifted focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the patient relations team's duties have stayed largely the same. 

"The only thing that's changed is now we have a virtual patient relations department," says Lidia. 

While a smaller group of staff reports to work at the hospital, some team members have been working remotely to assist patients. 

They are also working to provide extra support for loved ones who aren't able to visit patients due to current visitor restrictions. 

"We're still there for them and we have great relationships with our patients," Gena says.