Being a patient in a hospital, skilled care facility, inpatient rehabilitation center or another inpatient setting is usually a challenge for the patient and his or her caregivers. People experience a loss of control when they enter an institution. When a person is admitted to a facility, many of the basic things they take for granted are taken away by the organization’s rules and culture.
I didn’t realize this until I was a patient myself. The challenge then became very clear to me. I had understood the hospital’s operations, but I did not understand the personal impact it had on patients and families. When I stepped into those shoes, I experienced it myself. Simple things such as choosing when to go to bed, when to get up, or knowing when to expect the doctor to find out how I was doing, were out of my control. Privacy felt compromised when it came to performing my Activities of Daily Living as a patient.
A few weeks ago, I read a provocative article in US News and World Report by Dr. Peter Pronovost, the Director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and Senior Vice President for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine. It pointed out many of the challenges that I faced. The article included a wish list of patient requests that, if implemented, would improve the patient experience by helping them feel comfortable and safe in an inpatient setting.
The list summarizes many of the issues that impact the patient experience, which, if not considered appropriately, can lead to medical errors and frustration for patients and their loved ones.
Items on the list may seem like simple things that hospitals and other organizations should be able to address, but that’s not always the case. This is because the system often caters to staff instead of patients.
The leadership of in-patient facilities is just starting to realize this, as payers such as Medicare and Medicaid are basing reimbursement on patient experience statistics. The challenge is finding a happy medium that allows an organization to run efficiently while allowing patients and caregivers to maintain their dignity and a sense of control when admitted to an inpatient facility.
As you review this wish list, try to put yourself in the patient’s shoes. These variables’ impact is significant and profound not just for the patient but for their caregivers and all healthcare team members connected to that one patient.
Over the next few weeks, I will explore the concept of the patient experience and what organizations are doing to improve processes and systems to ensure a positive experience. If you have a best practice you would like to share, please email me at [email protected] so I can include in the post. In addition, I will cover things that patients and caregivers can do to help improve the experience and ensure safe care meets expectations.
To get started, take a minute to review these two sites, as they will allow you to become more familiar with this topic.
Have a good week!