November 1, 2015

What a Patient Wish List Should Include

Johns Hopkins Hospital has developed a patient wish list the patients have made on surveys or complaint letters.

The list is not intended to comprehensive, but it is intended to be a conversation starter. The list follows:
  1. Let me sleep. Do not take vitals throughout the night or draw blood between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless it is critical. If it is critical, please make sure I understand. My sleep helps me recover and feel better.
  2. Keep the noise levels down at the nurses' station. This is so important — especially at night when my sleep is needed. Turn off the TV, radio, computer screen, etc., at night in my room so there is not a glare or noise that can disturb my sleep.
  3. Don't lose my personal belongings. Take an inventory and label everything with my name and medical record number so my personal belongings do not get misplaced. These belongings are an extension of me and make me feel more at ease. Taking care of my stuff feels like you are taking care of me.
  4. Knock on the door before entering. This shows respect for my privacy and me as an individual. Introduce yourself to me and shake hands or make eye contact when you do this. Call me by my preferred name (formal or first name).
  5. Please keep my whiteboard current and up to date. It gives me a quick reference of who is caring for my daily plan and me. Provide a notebook at the bedside so I can keep all my important papers and cards from my health care team and other staff members in one place. Please make sure my name and my location — nursing unit, room number and room phone — are listed on the front.
  6. Update my family and me if you notice changes in my condition. Keep communication open. Please keep me informed of delays — it lessens my anxiety during an already stressful time.
  7. Keep my room clean. Mop the floors every day, wipe surfaces to prevent the spread of germs, empty my wastebasket and keep my bathroom really clean so it even smells clean. If you are my housekeeper, please introduce yourself to me and say hello. I like to know who is taking care of my surroundings.
  8. Listen to me and engage me in my care. Use plain language and make sure I understand my plan of care.
  9. Please orient me to my room and the hospital so I know where important things are located, how to work the television, how to order food and when my linens may be changed. I am a guest here and don't know these things, yet these are important to me.
  10. Please maintain professionalism in ALL areas of the hospital. While you may be on your break, you are still a hospital employee and a reflection of the hospital. How I perceive you is often how I perceive the hospital and care that I am receiving.
If you have experiences from a hospital stay or from working as a health care professional, that you think should be included, please share via the comments.

Many of the hospital surveys I have seen have nonsensical questions that seldom have anything to do with being in the hospital and the care received. They are all concerned about the room and its cleanliness and maybe a question or two about how fast the call button was answered. I will make comments on future surveys now that I have a guide.

2 comments:

Ila East said...

One other thing I could add is when you are from out of town and your primary physician will not be attending you, please let the patient know which doctors will be substituting for him/her. My husband was hospitalized recently out of town and he did not know who these doctors were or why they were in his room. It wasn't until his stay was over and we began to get the bills that I finally figured out what happened.

Bob Fenton said...

Thanks, Ila. This is a problem in many hospitals. Physicians come and go from patient's rooms and never introduce themselves and let us know why they are there or what care they are in charge of for us.