3 Ways to Improve the Hospital Patient Care Experience

patient-careToo many people hate hospital stays because of their previous experiences or the experiences of someone they know. While there, they feel they’re not getting enough care from the nursing staff, that doctors aren’t answering their questions that they don’t know what’s going on or what needs to be done next. To change these perceptions, hospital patient care experience need to undergo some serious changes.

#1 Treat Parents With Caring and Consideration
A nurse who ignores a patient when she asks for help or brushes her off when she asks questions about proceedings is hurting the patient care experience. Talking loudly, putting water out of reach, and not making eye contact are all small things that make a patient feel degraded.

Imagine a doctor popping in on a patient, telling a story about a time when he got the flu and came to work anyway, where the nurses scolded him. Later, he stops by to follow up about the test results, gives an overview of the prescriptions she will be taking when she heads home and asks about the cute kids he saw walking into the room the day before. Most importantly, he’s wearing a smile and making eye contact.

The extra few minutes of humanity make the doctor feel like a caring individual and can positively color the experience. Similarly, dealing with the nurse paints the experience in a poor light for the patient, even if the interactions lasted about the same amount of time. Hospitals, like all places of business, are judged on the worst experiences.

#2 Make Family Members Feel Important and Valued
Family members are your patients’ connection to their real world. Teach hospital staff to help family members, whether that means letting them know when they can visit the patient or working with your patient to Skype with someone who can’t be there.

Make sure family members have resources to update people about how their loved one is doing and have a room set aside for them to mourn, should it be necessary. Encourage doctors and nurses to suggest a family member turn to an on-staff chaplain or counselor who can help them deal with their grief.

Blowing off a family member is never going to improve the patients’ experience. Instead, when a family member voices a complaint or asks a question, teach staff to address it then or tell them they’ll find someone who can. If two or three other things have to be done first, staff members should tell the family member and give an estimate of when they’ll be able to handle the concern.

Even that little bit of consideration goes a long way toward improving the hospital patient care experience. It won’t help everyone, but for most people it makes a world of difference. An angry or upset family member can easily Tweet, write reviews and provide Facebook updates that can harm the hospital, all of which will color the public’s view.

#3: Improve Communication
Premier Anesthesia said, “Hospitals are notorious for poor communication, staring with frustrating signage and bad directions.” Apps with maps and clear directions can streamline the experience so patients know where they’re going, getting the stay on the right foot from Day One.

Many patients feel a doctor hasn’t answered their questions or is avoiding them. Train doctors to make it a priority to look in on patients and communicate with them. It’s time consuming, but it’s important. Not only can it help reduce lawsuits, it improves the patient’s experience.

And then there’s the worst part of a hospital stay. Checking out. The patient wants out of the room and he knows he’s overstayed his welcome. Someone is waiting on him, but the doctor needs a final X-Ray or lab result and doesn’t know when she’ll get it. Include patients in their care by telling them what’s going on. Better yet, have a room specifically for patients who are checking out. Snacks, reclining chairs and televisions can make the room a welcoming space – and free up beds.

Providing high-quality hospital patient care experiences is becoming a priority for hospitals around the United States. With some effort, hospitals can make strides toward improving how patients perceive their care.