Caring hospitals do not have to convince you by using the word “caring” in their slogans. Rather, they are patient-centered and show genuine interest about you and your loved ones during treatment and services within and outside their four walls. By asking “Do they care about you?” we are referring to the interactions of patients with hospital staff and leadership while in the hospital. You know the hospital cares about you when they provide care that is respectful of and responsive to your preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that your values guide all clinical decisions.
Patients should feel able to express views, be involved in decision-making according to their preferences, and receive respectful care at any hospital. Patients themselves are most knowledgeable about whether care aligns with their values, preferences, and needs. The hospital should listen to your views and use your feedback to improve the way it provides services. Here’s some questions to ponder:
How did you and the nurses get along?
Nurses play a crucial role in patient-centered care, as you are likely to recover faster if placed in a healthy environment and receiving high-quality nursing care. Here are some facts:
1. High quality nursing care is about empowering you the patient and keeping you informed about the plan of care, daily goals and progress.
2. Nurses who care treat you with courtesy and respect. We know that nurses care when they speak to the patient in a way they can understand and don’t rush out of the room. Nurses who care also listen carefully to patients.
3. Caring nurses understand what you need to keep you as healthy as possible. This includes making sure you have enough to eat and drink. They also ensure physical comfort and provide emotional support to relieve fear and anxiety, and get family and friends involved if the patient asks for it.
4. Caring nurses provide patients with a means to ask questions they may have and encourage patients to voice their concerns. Any concerns are investigated and acted on. Also, after the patient pressed the call button, caring nurses provide the help as soon as the patient wants it. For example, caring hospitals encourage nurses or other hospital staff to help patients get to the bathroom or in using a bedpan as soon as they wanted.
At some hospitals nurses are overwhelmed. Hospitals often force nurses to handle more patients than they should, causing opportunities for errors. California is a state with hospital-wide minimum nurse-patient staffing ratios.
Did the doctors understand your needs?
The hospital also has responsibility for a variety of patient services and needs and can make a difference in how well a patient recovers. Generally, the doctor is in charge of a patient’s care in a hospital. Consider these points:
1. The skill and experience of the doctor is very important in determining how well a medical problem is treated. Caring doctors seek out the right knowledge, qualifications, skills and experience to treat you in line with professional guidance.
2. Even though a doctor may visit a patient once or twice a day, how they interact with the patient is important. Caring doctors treat you with courtesy and respect, and are never condescending.
3. Caring doctors listen carefully to you, and are never in a rush to leave the bedside, as they take the extra time to explain things in a way you could understand, and invite questions from you.
4. Doctors at caring hospital treat you with respect even after there’s a disagreement about your treatment.
Doctors are now employed by hospitals, and their bosses are not doctors or qualify to practice medicine. These non-medical bosses are often beating on doctors to order more tests and do more operations. While some hospitals have moved to flat salaries, most hospitals offer bonuses to doctors who bill more and over-treat. These doctors often complain of dissatisfaction which manifest as disruptive and explosive behaviors.
Was hospital administration respectful to your preferences?
It is important that the people in charge at the hospital care about providing safe, high-quality, compassionate care.
1. Caring hospitals have leadership that establish a culture of safety, respond to patient and staff concerns, and support efforts to improve safety.
2. Caring hospital leaders ensure the hospital environment contributes to better healing. For example, leaders at caring hospitals ensure patient rooms and bathrooms are kept clean. They also put in place policies and procedures so that the area around patient rooms quiet at night so patients can sleep well.
3. Caring hospital administration enquire about patients experiences in their hospital. The truly caring leaders find time to visit patients, which they call “rounding”. During these patient visits, they ask about any changes or disruptions that affected your treatment. Caring hospitals emphasize transparency with patients and families and make it is easy for you to make a complaint or raise a concern. If you do, the leaders take your feedback seriously, responds quickly and makes any necessary improvements to the way it provides services.
At caring hospitals, leaders treat you with dignity, kindness and respect and you feel that they support and care about you. They make sure that you are involved in decisions about your care and that staff spend time talking with you. Your care, treatment and health condition are explained to you in a way that you can understand. They also take steps so that your privacy is respected.