As hospital administrators know, perhaps better than anyone, hospitals are complex organizations. Communication is a constant challenge, and it can take several months to implement even the smallest process change. After all of the paperwork, training and follow-up reviews, you may begin to question whether your amendments are truly improving the workspace, or simply adding more madness to the mayhem.
However, while failure to comply with some procedures, such as organizing supplies, may be a source of frustration, other procedures, such as those focused on patient-centered care, can have a major impact on your hospital’s success.
Here are a few ways you can improve patient-centered care in your hospital environment, and make sure it sticks.
1. Make Sure Staff Members Understand their Roles
One of the biggest threats to achieving patient-centered care in the workplace is each employee believing it’s up to someone else. The front desk staff thinks it’s the responsibility of the floor nurses. The floor nurses think it’s the responsibility of the physicians. It’s an age-old game of “pass the buck.” However, for patient-centered care to be successful, everyone must take full responsibility. From treating patients with courtesy and respect to making sure all needs are met prior to discharge, everyone plays a crucial part. Your primary role is to make sure they understand theirs.
2. Set Department-Wide and Hospital-Wide Goals
There’s a reason nearly every company in every industry sets goals for employees: because they work. Objectives motivate staff members both individually and as a team. Hospitals are full of goal-oriented individuals. After all, you’ve got to hit quite a few benchmarks to achieve a career in the healthcare industry.
The best way to tie everything together is to create goals around HCAHPS responses. What score do you need to achieve as a floor? A unit? An organization? Set the bar high, and people will rise to the occasion.
3. Reward the Champions
In addition to setting goals, rewards are a powerful motivator. When an employee sees others receiving recognition, he feels compelled to work harder and achieve his own recognition. According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, 60 percent of Best-in-Class organizations rated employee recognition as “extremely valuable” in driving individual performance.
If an employee is consistently meeting goals, earning accolades from patients and their families, offering genuine emotional support, focusing on patient comfort and ensuring patients are fully educated before leaving the hospital, make an example of her!
4. Set Clear Guidelines
The best way to make sure your hospital staff follows new procedures is to make them easy to digest. Clarity is key. Write up processes, and include specific examples on how to accomplish the pillars of patient-centered care, such as involving approved family in case decisions, making physical comfort a top priority and educating the patient. For example, for patient comfort, suggest care providers make use of measures such as topical anesthetics.
Most importantly, though, ensure everyone has the opportunity to ask questions so you can quickly clear up misunderstandings.
5. Work Closely with Patient Advocates
Patient advocates live in patient-centeredcare. Their entire purpose is to ensure patients get the care they need, and so they spend plenty of time listening to patient concerns. Cooperating with these professionals will allow you insight into opinions and sentiments you may not otherwise be privy to. By taking this feedback, and applying it to your procedural changes, you can help make a real impact.
Patient centered care is not just better for patients, it’s crucial to success in today’s healthcare landscape. Although it may be challenging to change up processes within your organization, by using these measures you can empower your staff to take the right actions. By making it a priority for your entire staff, it will quickly become the norm.
Looking for more patient-centered care tips for your nursing staff? Check out our free eBook, How Nurses Can Increase Satisfaction through Patient-Centered Care.