With more emphasis being placed on patient-centered care, it is important that healthcare professionals be acclimated to the subtle factors that can affect a patient’s experience. All hospital staff, not just physicians, can be contributing agents. While they may seem minuscule, things like turning off disruptive TV monitors at night and avoiding late night blood draws can prove to be very important in a patient’s eyes when it comes to their overall experience and healing process.
With patient surveys becoming more common, what’s most important is what’s actually done with the valuable information. Patients expect high-quality clinical care and safety at all times, so utilizing this feedback to make positive changes shows a commitment to a partnership with patients. In order to better understand what patients expect and need from their physicians, nurses, and other hospital staff, these are the top things your patients wished you knew.
1. Give them the grand tour. Something as small as how to work the television or when bed linens are changed may not seem like a big deal, but to a patient, these things can be very important. It’s imperative that staff familiarize them with their room and the hospital. Things like where the bathroom is located or how to order food may seem common knowledge to you, but remember, they are a guest in the hospital and may not know these things.
2. Treat their belongings as you would your own. A patient’s belongings are an extension of them, and having familiar items around them, kept safe, can make them feel more at ease during their stay. Patients correlate looking after their things as taking care of them. Being responsible and mindful of their belongings shows that you will do the same as their caretaker. To avoid things going missing or being misplaced, take careful inventory and label everything with the patient’s name and medical record number.
3. Sleep is of the upmost importance. A good night’s rest can make a patient feel better and aid in their overall recovery process. Try to avoid taking vitals or drawing blood at odd hours of the night unless necessary. If you must do these things, it’s important to always make sure the patient understands what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Something that may seem run-of-of-the-mill to you can seem entirely foreign and scary to a patient.
4. Communication is key. When a patient is admitted to a hospital, no matter how long or short the stay, tensions are going to be high and worry will ensue. In order to lessen anxiety during this stressful time, always maintain open communication with both the patient and their family. Any changes, delays, or other relevant details should be shared with the patient so they can be fully aware of what is happening each step of the way. Again, something that may seem obvious or commonplace to you, may be a completely different story for the average patient. This also means keeping whiteboards current and up to date and using plain language when explaining a patient’s plan of care to make sure they understand.
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