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February 17, 2016

Improving the Patient Experience: First-Hand Accounts from the Front Lines

In our last blog post, we shared some of fantastic tips from many of our on-site directors and front line team members on how to provide the best possible care for patients.

When we reached out to our team members across the country to contribute ideas, tips, and stories for this series, we were overwhelmed by the response.

In addition to the numerous great quotes we received, we received story after story of our team members showing true care and empathy for the patients they serve, and we are excited to share some of them with you.

Read on for some of our team members' first-hand examples of what it means to go above and beyond for our patients.

Real world examples of the impact our team members have on the patient experience:

“We recently had a patient celebrating his 70th birthday. He was from out of town and was supposed to be home the week before, but he became sick. While talking with him, he had mentioned how much he enjoyed reading Mad Magazine as a kid. On my lunch, I went to the local grocery store to pick up lunch for my team members. As I was in line, I spotted a Mad Magazine; I purchased it and brought it to the patient that evening. The look on his face when he saw it was worth the thought. He couldn't believe that I remembered his story. He thanked me and said I had made his day.”
- Brad Cooper, Environmental Services Director

“The last time we had our Chinese Day at the cafeteria, a patient heard a few nurses talking about it.  She decided to take a stroll down to see what we had.  The patient and I spoke for several minutes, and she said that she wanted to get some food.  I asked her what her room number was and checked to make sure she was on a regular diet and didn't get anything that could harm her.  I made her a plate and let her know that it would be taken care of by the Dietary Aids and that she could order anything else she might want from them as well (as long as her diet agreed with it), and it would be delivered to her.  She was extremely happy and thanked me.  She made it a point to let the nurses know how happy she was, who then passed it along to administration.”
- Michael Shults, Culinary Director

“Belinda Dillon says that it is her job to make people smile. She develops relationships with the patients she serves and they know her by name. Even many of her patient’s visitors know her name! Recently, Belinda had a potentially life-saving experience with a patient. As soon as she walked into the room, she knew something was wrong when the patient didn't say, 'Hello Belinda,' like she did everyday. Belinda knew that this patient has a great personality and was very chatty, so the lack of greeting was a major red flag. Belinda asked the patient how she was and the patient barely responded. Belinda immediately went to the nurse station to get help.  Because Belinda knows her patients so well, she was able to quickly recognize that something was wrong; if she hadn't developed that rapport with the patient, Belinda could have easily assumed the patient was just tired or medicated. Instead, she went for help, and the nurses were able to quickly come to the patient’s aid.”
– Brian Moczynski, Environmental Services Director

“I have a regular patient that I have grown to enjoy seeing while being her Patient Ambassador for 12 hours each day.  I enjoy seeing that this patient gets what she needs while in the hospital, and I always know that I better have spaghetti ready for her once she is admitted.  Every time I come to her room, she always greets me with a hug and kind, endearing words."
- Hyesha Perrett, Patient Ambassador

“We had a patient in our Skilled Nursing facility who was highly allergic to maltodextrin along with several other foods. My director, Ted Peters, and I dedicated at least 9 hours on a Saturday to find a thickening agent that the patient could use. We spent several hours calling distributors and pharmacies within a 50 mile radius, and several hours researching online. We found a nectar-consistency substance called Simply Thick and it worked wonders with her diet. She was able to resume eating normally again, and our team was so pleased and proud that our research paid off, and that we were able to find a solution that worked for her."
– Kacey Lee, Diet Clerk

“I had some broth and jello sent to a patient who was having trouble eating. She was so happy that she had flowers sent to me when she left. It’s just the little things that can make a big difference for people.”
– Melissa Collins, Patient Ambassador

“While doing her rounds, Patient Advocate Paula Sup came across an elderly patient who was extremely confused and apparently suffering from dementia. She had not eaten in at least 24 hours and was extremely agitated with everyone who entered the room. Despite their best efforts, the nursing staff was struggling to make a connection with this woman. Paula sat down with the patient and talked with her. The conversation went to the woman’s younger years when she was in school, and it seemed that’s where she thought she currently was. Paula, who has experience working with patients with dementia, went with the flow of the conversation telling the patient that her mom would want her to eat before going to school. Eventually Paula was able to get her to eat several good bites of food and drink some milk. Paula shared the good news with her colleagues in the Dietary department, as well as the nurses, and they were very pleased and appreciative.  This isn’t the first act of kindness performed by Paula, and I am sure not her last. Her empathy on a daily basis is what makes her special. We are very fortunate to have her on our team."
-Harry Smith, Environmental Services Director

“After barely 2 months on the job, Katrina Hamilton has already made a huge impact on her unit and our EVS team.  Yesterday, she was recognized by the hospital for going above and beyond the call of duty for the heartfelt care that she showed one of her patients. The patient shared: 'It was my birthday today and Katrina brought me a card and a birthday gift! It totally shocked me that she remembered and that she cared so much for someone who she just met last week. My breath was taken away and it brought me to tears.'"
- Josh Stackley, Environmental Services Director

Tag(s): Healthcare

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