Friday, March 20, 2015

It Takes The Whole Team to Meet Our Patients’ Needs

I recently had an experience with a loved one in a hospital in another state that really bothered me. I went to visit my family member who was a very sick inpatient, and he told me that earlier in the day he had had a very acute need. He had pushed his call button to get help, but unfortunately, no one came to his aid for more than an hour.

It wasn’t that the staff in that hospital didn’t care. My relative’s nurses were very polite and hard working, but, they were also very busy. It was clear to me that there was no real sense of collaboration. The unit secretaries, housekeepers, nursing support technicians, other nurses and even the occasional administrator who came to the unit did not see responding to the call light as part of their job descriptions. I also got the sense that there was no attempt to anticipate my relative’s needs. When someone came into his room, they had one thing in mind. They did that one thing and that one thing only, and then left the room. In that hospital, my loved one did not get the care that I wanted him to get.

I wondered if this could happen at GBMC? I know how hard our nurses and support technicians work and that our patients – especially the very sick and elderly – have many needs. I asked myself the question, “Did I always go to answer a call light when I was a practicing physician on the unit if the staff was busy doing other things?” The answer was clearly that I did not.

I was very happy to hear of the rollout this week of the GBMC “NO PASS ZONE” (NPZ), a new hospital policy regarding how our clinical and non-clinical staff respond to our patients in need. If an alarm goes off or a call bell light is seen and/or heard, someone – even a nonclinical employee – will respond immediately. The concept of an NPZ has helped prevent falls and aid workers in responding more quickly to patients in need when it has been implemented elsewhere.

How does the NO PASS ZONE work? If you see a call light on, you CAN do the following for a patient:

  • Reposition the call light, telephone, bedside table, chairs, trash can, tissues or other personal items within reach.
  • Assist with making phone calls or answering the telephone.
  • Change TV channels or turn the TV on or off.
  • Turn the lights on or off.
  • Obtain personal items such as blankets, pillows, towels, washcloths, toiletries, pens, pencils, books, magazines, etc.
  • Reduce clutter.
  • Perform and encourage hand hygiene.
  • Alert the clinical staff for all clinical needs.

We should always use AIDET communication standards (Acknowledge, Introduction, Duration, Explanation, Thank You) upon entering the patient’s room. If you need a reminder about the AIDET communication standards, they are listed and explained on the small Service Excellence and AIDET card behind your GBMC badge.When entering an isolation room, we must also follow the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements which will be displayed outside of the room.  If you do not have an AIDET badge please contact Courtney Hendon in Service Excellence.  She would be more than glad to provide you with one.

I know that some of my non-clinical colleagues are nervous about assisting a patient, but there is no expectation that a non-clinical person do anything clinical. Everyone can help meet the patient’s other needs or get help from a clinician if the problem is clinical. It takes the whole team to work together to get the job done. Thanks in advance for making NPZ work!

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