By Glen Rosales/Observer Staff Writer
Taking advantage of fellow professionals' experience is a great way, not only to network, but to improve service, said Katrina Morgan, director of nursing at Lovelace Westside Hospital.
For several years, the hospital has participated in a program called Transforming Care at the Bedside, a national effort to bring health care professionals from across the country together to brainstorm about ways of better responding to patients' needs.
Now, eight hospitals in New Mexico are part of the group of regional hospital participating in the effort. It's resulted in several innovative, yet simple changes in the way Lovelace handles its patients.
It starts when a patient is first admitted to the hospital, said Morgan.
In the past, new patients would be given some basic information about the hospital, but now each patient gets an introductory folder with all information written out and in one place.
The program includes pamphlets that speak to hospital operations, fall prevention, safety goals and key contact information.
It is a packet that will be useful for patients on admission and throughout their stay. The house supervisor or nurse manager greets every patient within 30 minutes of admission and reviews this packet.
It even has a notepad and pen to write down questions "because as soon as the doctor walks in, people's minds go blank," Morgan said.
It also includes perhaps the single biggest need for patients: "They love this because it has the TV channels," Morgan said with a chuckle.
The program began several years ago by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ), the nation's largest philanthropy dedicated to improving the health and health care of all Americans. Lovelace Westside Hospital has been a participant in TCAB's national efforts.
TCAB is a new nurse-led hospital program that engages frontline staff to work together to identify, pilot, test and adopt new practices over an 18-month period.
The program also aims to increase the vitality and retention of nurses and frontline staff, engage and improve the patient's experience of care and improve the effectiveness of the entire care team.
Participating nurses will then share their successes and lessons learned with other hospitals across the country.
The TCAB effort has been shown to improve the technical quality of care, patient experience and nurse job satisfaction.
That's because the nurses themselves come up with many of the new ideas, Morgan said.
"It's not a top-down experience," she said. "They're doing this themselves so they are empowered in what they're doing."
Another popular innovation has been the development of a welcome bag for new patients, said Shiney Shaji, the charge nurse for the intensive care unit.
Before its introduction, patients were given a bucket filled with odds and ends that would quickly get misplaced, she said.
Now, patients get a bright-orange, zippered bag filled with body wash, lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, comb, ear plugs and hand-sanitizing wipes.
All of these items were available for patients, Shaji said, but patients would frequently have to ask nurses for them.
So this move helps cut down on the time nurses would have spent running errands for the patients, she said.
The hourly rounding form is another example of a new policy developed by the staff, which is a simple and focused form that asks three questions: Pain, Potty and Position.
Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores have increased drastically with questions regarding pain control and patient attentiveness due to this purposeful hourly questioning with staff.
This has led to a decrease in call light use, Morgan said, which again saves nurses time to concentrate on doing other tasks.
"The idea is that we can all help each other," Morgan said, "with the patient getting the benefit."
Source: Rio Rancho Observer