Providing excellent patient care in a hospital setting poses some unique challenges not shared by ordinary doctors’ offices and medical clinics. Hospital patients are typically sicker than those who utilize other kinds of medical care, and their stays can be quite long. To make matters even worse, many people are scared of hospitals.
Patient care should be the top priority at any medical facility. Making patients feel more comfortable won’t just improve satisfaction rates. It can also help to facilitate the healing process by reducing stress. Read on to find a few tips for how to start changing the hospital environment for the better.
Invest in New Furniture
Older hospital beds and chairs often sacrificed comfort for the sake of hygiene and safety. These days, though, there are plenty of options for hospital furniture that meets the full range of patients’ needs. Investing in new furniture can make a big difference when it comes to making patients staying in the hospital for long periods feel more comfortable and less stressed.
Improve Nurse-to-Patient Ratios
Most hospitals restrict the number of patients that can be taken on by any one nurse, but getting the nurse-to-patient ratio right can be tough. Hospitals are often operating on tight margins, which means hiring additional staff can place an undue financial burden on them. Improving nurse-to-patient ratios by determining the level of care required for patients in different areas will ensure that each patient receives the dedicated, one-on-one help required to get by comfortably during the hospital stay.
Increase Inpatient Activity Levels
It’s a well-known but little-discussed fact that patients who must undergo prolonged hospital stays often wind up deconditioned. This issue can be particularly detrimental to elderly patients. Even patients with limited mobility should be encouraged to get up and walk around or engage in distracting activities that don’t involve lying in bed. Staying busy won’t just help patients retain their muscle mass but will also keep their minds off their diseases and make the time pass a little faster.
Most studies on hospital burnout related to bureaucracy apply to healthcare workers, but patients required to engage in seemingly endless bureaucratic procedures suffer from unnecessary stress, as well. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to avoid overburdening patients with paperwork. Hospitals can give patients pre-op checklists, make sure that paperwork is completed well in advance of any procedure, and make full use of specialized software programs for collecting patient data so that they don’t have to answer the same questions over and over.
Provide Access to Overnight Guests
One of the worst things for most hospital patients is having to be away from their loved ones. While it would be unreasonable to design every hospital room to accommodate an entire family, it is reasonable to design rooms to comfortably accommodate each patient’s spouse or primary caregiver.
Greater Comfort Leads to Improved Patient Outcomes
Healthcare workers know that many factors contribute to patient outcomes. Don’t underestimate the impact of making each patient feel more comfortable during his or her stay. It can make a huge difference.