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April 25, 2013

The importance of speaking up ...


For example, as a result of the column we have had a meeting with the heads of three departments responsible for our care. And we found it to be a very informative and productive meeting. There was general agreement that our care did not meet Bassett’s expectations, leading to a number of steps designed to correct identified problems including the hiring of additional patient care assistants (nurse’s aides) for the surgical floor, the inception of a pilot program to staff the inpatient surgical floor with a part-time assistant to help patients get the walking needed for their recovery and better communication so that the expectations outlined for patients in the joint replacement class will be met during the patient’s hospital stay.

Additionally, the handouts distributed in the joint replacement class are being reviewed to make certain it is clear that they are only guidelines and that every patient is unique and may require changes to the outlined plan. We also learned that plans are in the works for the hospital’s food service with the goal of improving food choices for individual patients. A note was also made that the procedures in place for securing additional help when the floors are short of staff are being reviewed in order to make certain those procedures are working in the best interests of both patients and staff. All in all, we were most pleased with the discussion of issues and the proposed remedies for the problems we had encountered.

Thus, we do feel that it is very important that patients speak up regarding experiences at Bassett. Positive comments help Bassett to know what they are doing well. Negative comments help them to understand where there might be need for improvement. And, we hasten to add, we do not feel it is necessary to write a newspaper column to share both positive and negative comments. In fact, Bassett has an extensive system in place to deal with issues raised by patients. And we would encourage everyone who has had an experience, good or bad, which they wish to share with Bassett to do it so in order that it can become part of the ongoing evaluation of both inpatient and outpatient procedure. And, to make certain that we fully understood the Patient Representative Services at Bassett we called the head of the department for an explanation of the best way for a patient to share a comment.

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