Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Does Your Medical Staff Comfort Your Patients?

Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

...thy staff, they comfort me...

Not to take away from the literal context of this passage, but just for the sake of entering a conversation regarding patient care at your facility, let me ask this question. How comforting is your staff and would you, without reservation, volunteer to be a patient there?

An inpatient experience could very well be defined as walking through the valley of the shadow of death. No matter how close the patient comes to death, they stare their mortality in the face just by lying in that bed. The thought, or shadow, of death passes through the patients mind several times during their hospitalization. Even during a joyous occasion such as giving birth, the crash cart close to the bed is a constant reminder that even the best of events has the potential of becoming the worst.

Are your staff members trained to comfort patients emotionally, or do you place the emphasis of patient care only on meeting their physical needs? Do you encourage those giving direct care to spend a few extra minutes bedside to guarantee the patient is comfortable in all aspects? The single greatest mistake a medical facility can make is to overlook the patient and concentrate solely on profit. When you concentrate more on the quantity instead of quality, everyone loses. I don't need to spell out what the implication of quantity over quality entails as this mindset has been King since the turn of the 20th century. It has literally taken the service of health care into the business of health care, and it has produced a generation of dis-satisfied patients. Be the change.

Challenge for the day:
Can it be said that your medical staff comforts? Think of ways you or your organization fall short in the philosophy of patients first and resolve to change them.