Provide Better Care by Working Hand-in-hand with Your Patient’s Family

We don’t have to tell you how challenging and rewarding nursing can be.

But it sometimes can be too so all encompassing in that it becomes hard to remember that your mission is to take care of patients – and even their families – in ways that are meaningful to them.

HFM Magazine wrote about how hospitals can make their facilities more conducive to a patient’s chances of healing. Oftentimes a patient’s healing isn’t about the direct care you provide—sometimes it is about the environment of the facility. For example, the proper design of rooms and waiting areas can really help patients and their families. The article author, Barbara Heaulat suggested several things that facilities should consider:

Can the patient easily control lights, television and privacy? Can the patient easily find the appropriate office? Can the patient easily access educational materials, and can the family come along? Beautiful residential-style furniture and plush carpet in a home-like setting alone cannot create a low-stress environment if a patient must sit half dressed in a busy and drafty corridor.

While many hospital administrators and even nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals believe that the design of a medical facility has very little to do with healing, the facility’s design definitely does, as the article pointed out:

We [should] design environments that provide the patient with the personal dignity to face life’s natural transitions. We need environments that integrate the family and friends in supportive roles and participatory care roles. We need to reduce the stress in our healing environments, making them simple, accessible and controllable.

But the quality of care that you can provide is also impacted by technology. If a patient (and their family) know that you are just a “call” away, that provides them peace of mind. Nurse call systems allow you to respond quickly to their needs, which can affect both patient safety and satisfaction.

It can be the small details that can really impact a patient’s opinion of their care. For example, a simple nurse call button on the patient’s pillow can, allow a patient to communicate with a nurse very easily and quickly (rather than on their bed handles or on the wall).

There are many details that a patient isn’t even aware of that assists with their perception of the facility any care. In a November 2006 HFM Magazine article, written by Gary Buss and Debbie Cameron, RN, they discussed several of these details:

“Suppose the patient is watching television when he decides he needs to speak to his nurse,” they write. “He simply pushes the nurse call button and the speaker automatically mutes the TV when the nurse answers, allowing the patient to hear and be heard.”

But perhaps the most important thing a nurse can do to help a patient is to think of the patient’s family members as part of the patient’s healthcare team. Interact with the family with great respect. Treat them as the intelligent people they are. Listen to their insights and concerns, and suggestions regarding the patient and take them seriously.

By bringing family members in as “healthcare team members,” you’ll facilitate their help in ensuring the patient follows the prescribed medication, rest, exercise, or other post-hospital care plans.

If you’re an RN, OT, PT, speech therapist, pharmacist or other allied health professional curious about a career as a traveling healthcare provider, contact the recruiters at MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We have many traveling assignments at healthcare facilities all across the country and we’d love to discuss them with you. We look forward to hearing from you!

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