I had two letters this week, one from a very grateful patient, who listed every employee who had touched her in some way, and asked me to thank them. She couldn't have done a better job describing our mission and values. It was a wonderful letter and I wrote and thanked her for sharing the experience.
On Friday I received a different letter, one describing a family members concerns and listing all the ways we did not communicate and frustrated the family. It was a letter that did a very thorough job describing what went wrong from her perspective. I will write to her this week and tell her all we will do to review her concerns. The Office of the Patient Experience, nursing and the service line medical director will all be asked to review the case and provide feedback on what occurred and how we prevent it from happening again.
We take both kinds of letters as really gifts and opportunities to learn. They help us recognize staff doing great things, and understand what went wrong when things don't go as well. Patient satisfaction, patient centered care, is at the core of all we do.
Health care is undergoing many changes, but this basic value, patient centered care, can never change. It's why we have adopted relationship based care as our nursing model. It's at the core of pursuing the Baldrige principles. It's what Medicare seeks to measure in the HCAHPS surveys that are sent to Medicare enrollees.
Every month we present an award called the Daisy Award for nursing excellence and in addition we have STAR awards that encourage patients to nominate any staff member for excellence. In reading the nominations each month I am amazed at what our staff do to go above and beyond for patients.
How do we ensure that every patient, every encounter, every day has that same level of care? We do it by looking hard at issues when things don't go well, and learning from those problems. We do it by hard-wiring solutions when a problem does occur. We do it by having honest conversations with colleagues when they don't live our values.
If the basics aren't right, that's what patients remember.
Huddles are a great place to have discussions when it's clear a family is struggling, and manager rounding is the other place we hope to encounter and correct when an experience is not going well. This past year we also began a Patient and Family Council to gain feedback directly from our patients, and we greatly appreciate the time and recommendations they are providing.
Thank you of all you do to improve patient care every day at St. Joseph's. If you have ideas or recommendations, a great place to send those is our Office of the Patient Experience at 315-448-5559 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein