5 ways to improve your pediatric patients’ hospital experience
Friday, October 11, 2019
As a hospital administrator, you know your pediatric patients have much different emotional and physical needs than their adult counterparts. But even though you think you're working effectively to address those needs, you may miss the mark.
It's key to encourage kids and their families to express what they want and need from your staff during a hospital stay — but it's also key to anticipate what they will make them feel comfortable, too. Use this research-driven advice to ace the task and earn high patient satisfaction marks.
Know what your pediatric patients fear.
A hospital stay is scary for a child, and new research from lead study author Mandie Foster at Edith Cowan University finds that hospitalized kids most want to feel safe and be able to get to sleep at night.
Constant verbal reassurance from your nursing staff is job No. 1, as is making your young charges' rooms feel as comfortable as possible. Make sure nurses ask kids what feels scary in their room, so it can be removed or changed.
Also, simple things like leaving on a light when a child fears the dark makes a huge difference, as is providing a new stuffed animal as a gift right before bedtime.
Reevaluate night staffing levels.
Research from a team led by Katherine Fullerton and published by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine found that kids with suspected appendicitis get better daytime care because lower staffing levels often caused these patients to not get a CT scan for diagnostic confirmation at night.
Make certain you have sufficient overnight technician/radiology support to avoid this concern, which parents may quickly voice.
Be a wish-granter.
Researcher Anup Patel from Nationwide Children’s Hospital reports that kids with a progressive, long-term or critical illness who get a wish — anything from a new puppy to a dream family vacation — are 2.5 times more likely to have fewer unplanned hospital admissions and are 1.9 times less likely to visit the ER.
Work with wish-granting organizations to help your regular peds patients feel better emotionally and hopefully avoid readmissions significantly.
Ask your peds parents what they need on a constant and progressive basis.
A Boston Children's Hospital study found that the most important issues to parents of hospitalized kids were full communication about condition and paying attention to their kids' pain.
It's absolutely crucial to assign a medical team member to be a family's point person, who can take the initiative when it comes to clear, frequent medical updates and check comfort levels on a constant basis.
Kids need distractions and smiles when they're in the hospital. Stopping in to your peds patients' rooms with a joke or treat each day is an easy way to make them feel happy when they are experiencing perhaps the most stressful time of their young lives.
Your staff should continually offer positive words, warmth and kindness — those are incredibly valuable tools in terms of satisfaction and a speedy recovery!
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