Similar to most service industries, the delivery of health care services includes many people. The focus is on the patient, however managing improvement in health status and encouraging wellness involves family, significant others and other care takers within the extended family structure. With that in mind, inclusivity of all interested parties can be somewhat of a tightrope walk due to regulations such as HIPAA and the ever-challenging “family” dynamics.
Regardless of the challenges, health care organizations must find their way on the winding road of family centered care. The way can be relatively easy when thinking about a personal experience where you felt special, where you were treated as an individual, and where you believed that you were the sole person who was receiving individualized care.
The essential keys to successful family centered care can include:
- Be present with the family; do not be occupied with equipment or administering medications. The family is your focus.
- Specify that you have “X” minutes to spend with the patient and family. It is just their time.
- Implement The Caring Model™ steps:
a. Introducing oneself to the patient and their family and explaining one’s role in the patient’s care
b. Calling the patient or family member by his or her preferred name
c. Being seated at the bedside to discuss the patients care plan
d. The use of touch, a hand shake and a thank you
e. Utilizing the mission and values of the organization to guide the delivery of care
- Ask everyone present if they have questions.
- Before leaving the room, ask if there is one thing you can do for them before leaving.
- Establish 30-60 minutes in a day for patient quiet time. That means no interruptions so patients can rest; no rounds, no medications, no vital signs, nothing but rest which has been proven to promote healing.
- Foster accountability by supplying business cards that staff can hand out as a means of contact for families. A name always promotes greater accountability than just “a nurse with red hair who took care of my mother yesterday.”
- Refine your patient portal to assure user-friendliness
- An early step to population health may be identifying a small cohort of patients that the Care Management team can work with to reduce readmissions. Individualized care at its best!
- Use home visits for the same cohort as one means of establishing relationships with patients and families.
Give some or all of these ideas a try; they just might improve your patient, family and employee satisfaction!
Author: Diane Bradley, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CPHQ, FACHE, FACHCA, Regional Clinical Officer, HealthTechS3