Being admitted to the hospital is an anxiety-inducing experience. Patients feel fear as they are no longer in control of their circumstances, and they must entrust their lives into the hands of others. What happens to these patients will depend on the doctors and nurses who are providing their care. The quality of care that patients receive will make a difference in recovery as those who receive top-quality care are known to heal faster. To improve patient care in your hospital, accommodate individuals with disabilities, have all staff undergo sensitivity training, make it easy to reach patient advocates, and provide digital and remote options where possible.
Accommodate Individuals with Disabilities
Many patients who will visit your hospital will be disabled to some degree. To guarantee that patients receive the best care possible and to make certain all runs smoothly, it is essential that those with disabilities be given the necessary accommodations. Make sure all treatment rooms, hospital rooms, bathrooms, and hallways can fit the largest wheelchairs, and make sure all signs contain Braille and large print. Make sure interpreters are always on staff for those who are Deaf and make sure all material is provided in an accessible format.
Have All Staff Undergo Sensitivity Training
Patients will be coming to your hospital from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life. Their beliefs may be different than those held by the dominant culture. For instance, a parent who is of Latin American or Asian origin finds it normal to bed share with infants and children, thus they will request that a bed be provided for both mother and child instead of a crib. Staff who are culturally competent will not try to dissuade such parents from bed-sharing but will offer ways to bed share safely instead such as by following the Safe Seven guidelines. Another example is that a patient may be of the Muslim faith and prefer not to consume pork and other forbidden foods. Culturally competent staff will make certain that there are food options that are available that do not violate the consciences of such patients. Respecting one’s beliefs and culture will guarantee that the hospital experience is less traumatic.
Make it Easy to Reach Patient Advocates
While your aim is for your staff to provide excellent care, there are times when things do not always go according to plan. This is especially true when patients have a complex medical history such as one that is caused by a rare disorder such as Mitochondrial Disease or Neurofibromatosis. Sometimes, doctors and other medical staff will not understand how to help these patients and may refuse to give them exactly what is needed to address their medical situations. Or the doctors and medical staff may treat these patients typically when special treatment is needed. Patient advocates can intercede for these patients and ensure positive outcomes by assisting with care management and ensuring patients receive the treatments they need. It is best to have patient advocates on staff 24/7 as this service must always be available to those who need it.
Provide Digital and Remote Options Where Possible
To improve patient care, it is essential that you provide digital and remote options wherever possible. If patients continue to work with providers on an outpatient basis, enabling the option for virtual appointments as virtual options makes it easy to access ongoing care for those who find it difficult to leave home.
Additionally, allow for patients to access all their records in a digital portal. Digital access ensures that patients can access their information whenever they need it, and they can get their records to other providers who are crucial to managing treatment. When providers must wait for records, treatment is delayed, and health outcomes can be impacted negatively. When patients can get records quickly to providers, health outcomes will be improved as there will not be a waiting period for providers to receive records.
While going to the hospital is not a pleasant experience, patient care can be improved when putting these four measures in place. When patients receive positive outcomes, this improves the reputation of your hospital as people will speak well of you and offer positive reviews. Not to mention, you will play a role in improving the quality of life of your patients by offering them optimal care.
Author information: Hannah Boothe is a graduate of the University of Washington in Marketing and English. With dreams of becoming a professional novelist, she also enjoys taking care of her dogs and helping out on her parents’ farm. She loves to read and enjoys cuddling up to a good movie.