Is NMC Working to Improve the Healing Environment?
Sep 18, 2012 4:52 pm| Permalink
Yes – and you can help! Just because NMC’s staff have earned national awards for overall patient satisfaction from Avatar for five years in a row does not mean we do not have room for improvement. Our team takes patient feedback very seriously and is currently working to improve, particularly in the areas of restfulness for patients, responsiveness to patients, and communication with patients.
A restful environment is important to healing, but it can be a challenge to maintain in the midst of a busy hospital. Our staff is working to be increasingly sensitive to noise and avoidable disruptions which may bother our patients. This awareness prompts people to think about where they have conversations and what level voice they use. They have looked at ways to reduce foot traffic outside patient rooms; have had adjusted squeaky doors adjusted; have started dimming lights, turning down telephone ringer volume, and closing doors; and are finding ways to reduce interruptions to patient restfulness. We have even implemented a “turn down” service to help patients get ready for sleep in the evening, complete with eye masks and earplugs for those who find them helpful.
While it is natural to think about noise levels at night, in a hospital it is equally important to think about these things during the day and into the evening as ill patients are trying to sleep at all hours. That is where you can help. When you visit a loved one here in the hospital, please be mindful of the healing environment. Speak softly. Try not to have conversations right outside a patient room. Consider limiting how many people are visiting at once. Once more than two or three people congregate, it is challenging for even the most well-intentioned folks to stay quiet. Remember, even if your loved one is healthy enough for boisterous conversation, it will likely be disruptive for the patient next door or across the hall. Here in the hospital, we must all work together to help all of the patients get the rest they need. We really appreciate your assistance with this.
Our staff is also working to improve response times to “call lights” signaling a patient has a question or needs assistance. We actually measure the time it takes to respond and have put in specific strategies to reduce the need for a patient to call and to reduce the time it takes for us to respond. With the patient’s nurse checking in with them on a regular basis and with both the charge nurse and the nurse manager rounding, we can proactively address questions and needs, reducing the number of times the patient has to press the call button. We are also working on a collaborative approach to response, so staff other than that particular patient’s nurse may respond to a call. We find that many times, another nurse or a staff member from another department is available and can answer a question or get something for a patient if the patient’s nurse is busy at the moment of the call. That teamwork will really help with responsiveness.
Making sure there is good communication between patient and our staff is very important to patient satisfaction and clinical care. We are reinvigorating our efforts to do our shift change conversations at the bedside with the patient involved to make for a smoother transition. We had gotten away from this practice during the times of highest patient census, but want to get back to it as we think it has great value. Our nurses are also making a point of it to ask patients “Is there anything else I can do for you?” as they prepare to leave a room to make sure the patient has what they need and doesn’t have any lingering questions.
Part of providing exceptional care is making sure patients have a restful environment, have their needs met, and understand their care. Those works “exceptional care” are important to us here at NMC. They are not just in our mission statement – they are our mission. I am pleased that our staff continues to work on making things even better for our patients. I thank you in advance for being mindful of the need for a restful environment within the hospital as you visit a loved one.
- Jill Berry Bowen, NMC CEO