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27 May

How vital is compassionate care in the patient experience?

Compassionate care & the patient experience

Providing an exceptional Patient Experience is more important now than ever as it can lead to higher scores on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. While some hospitals are pumping money into new facilities or signage to gain the attention of patients, they may consider another key facet that is just as important and likely more cost effective -- educating their staff on delivering compassionate care to patients and their families. Compassionate care can set the foundation for improving patients’ care experiences, patient and caregiver satisfaction, and a hospital’s bottom line.

According to the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare’s research, patient care is simply "recognizing the concerns, distress and suffering of patients and their families and taking action to relieve them." Here are some of their top findings that can improve the Patient Experience in hospitals:

They involve patients and their families. Family-centered medical rounds, 24/7 visiting hours and executive decision-making teams that include patients and their families are effective strategies.

They emphasize compassion in hiring and training. While one hospital employs a talent-management agency to "hire for attitude," another holds 150 workshops a year to train frontline staff on empathy.

They have a culture of experimentation and compassion. To achieve this, senior management support is essential, since a willingness to try new initiatives involves risk, the report states. "Successful institutions encourage new ideas at all levels."

They coordinate care. One particularly successful initiative that several hospitals shared was shift-to-shift reporting at the bedside, which allows clinicians to keep each other, as well as the patients and their families, up to speed.

They embrace transparency. The use of HCAHPS gives hospitals not only the opportunity to compete with one another to improve the Patient Experience, but also allows institutions to target internal improvements, according to the report.

Despite the ramp up of research, statistics and marketing around the Patient Experience in recent years, it’s not a new concept to the many healthcare workers who have been providing extraordinary care for their entire careers. Kindness while caring for others has always been paramount in patient care. It’s not difficult to make others feel valued if we all take a minute to remember to care for others the way in which we want to be treated.

Does your organization recognize compassionate care as a key facet in improving the Patient Experience?


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