Millions of patients worldwide rely on hospitals to help them recover from serious illnesses or injuries. Ideally, a hospital environment should be both safe and comfortable to facilitate healing.
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) can occur from urinary catheters and ventilators, causing urinary tract infections and pneumonia. HAIs can also occur due to surgical site infections and bloodstream infections from central lines.
Hospitals that take the time to understand how to improve patient safety save money and, most importantly, have better patient outcomes.
If you’re managing a healthcare facility and looking for strategies to improve the safety and comfort of your patients, then you’ll need to read this guide to learn more.
Improve Patient Room Cleanliness
Since HAIs rapidly spread in unclean environments, you should initially focus on patient rooms. Cleaning staff should assess each room and remove any obstacles preventing safe cleaning.
Using a systematic approach is best to ensure consistency among all patient rooms. It’s a good idea to start with cleaner, less used surfaces, then move to dirtier surfaces utilized more during patient care.
Taking this approach will reduce microorganisms and dirt from spreading around the room. Additionally, moving from the top to the bottom of each room while cleaning will reduce the risk of contaminating already clean surfaces. Finally, it may be time to upgrade the furniture you have in each room, like with this medical furniture sold to the NHS. Since healthcare facilities are high-risk environments, it’s essential to have quality hospital-grade fabrics and vinyl furniture to reduce infection. Hospital-grade fabrics are also more comfortable for patients as they recover.
Optimize Your Hospital Discharge Practices
Since the patient discharge process is the last step of a person’s stay in the hospital, it’s all too easy to overlook. This is especially true when patients and staff are in a hurry to complete this process as quickly as possible.
However, having a discharge process that isn’t planned well can create safety hazards and make everything less comfortable for your patients.
You can minimize safety risks and keep your patients more comfortable during their discharge if you optimize the entire process. It’s also one of the best ways to improve the overall quality of care at your facility and reduce the number of readmissions.
You’ll first need to create an easy-to-understand but comprehensive plan to follow with each discharge. This discharge plan should include the following:
- Medication dosage schedule
- Checklist of follow-up medical appointments with contact information
- Names and phone numbers of healthcare providers to call if problems arise
It’s also critical to have specialized patient transporters that focus on transporting patients to the hospital exit immediately upon discharge. This reduces the time recovered patients spend waiting in the hospital, feeling uncomfortable.
Once the transporters discharge a patient, they should collaborate with environmental services to alert them the room is ready for cleaning. The room can then be cleaned quickly and efficiently, minimizing the risk of viruses and bacteria growing while the room sits vacant.
Ensure Patients Understand Treatments
When patients are in the hospital, their doctor will typically explain their treatments. However, the process shouldn’t stop at this point. As a healthcare facility, ensuring patients are comfortable and understand their treatment plan is necessary.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean a patient will have the same knowledge of their situation as a healthcare professional. Instead, it means all patients should have a high level of understanding about their treatments and the risks involved.
A simple way to ensure this is to have nurses and other healthcare staff check patients’ levels of understanding during each assessment. Improving patient communication by asking them to restate what they were told is an effective strategy.
When patients and family members understand the treatments, medications, and various procedures, they feel more comfortable and can easily detect errors in their care.
Verify Medical Procedures
You’ve probably heard horror stories about patients getting their right hip replaced when it should’ve been the left hip. While this is typically verified before surgery, errors can occur. Therefore, it’s best to create an official verification process as a part of the pre-op checklist.
One of the most well-known types of verification processes is the Universal Protocol. This protocol prevents surgical errors by having each surgical team member call for a time-out to verify surgery details.
You can take this protocol even further and apply it to other aspects of your facility. For example, your staff members can use this protocol to verify medication dosages, timing, and the patient’s name.
Not only does this protocol reduce medical errors, but your patients will feel much more comfortable in your facility.
Practice Patient-Centered Care
Practicing patient-centered care is also an effective way to improve safety and comfort for all patients at your healthcare facility.
With patient-centered care, a person’s particular health needs and desired health outcomes are the main force behind all healthcare decisions. Patients also become partners with healthcare providers.
Healthcare providers don’t simply treat their patients from a clinical perspective either. They look at other aspects of a person, which include:
Family members are encouraged to collaborate with patients and their doctors in a shared decision-making process. Doing this makes patients feel more engaged and comfortable with all treatment decisions.
A patient-centered approach will also improve patient safety because it ensures patients and families are knowledgeable about their care, which helps to prevent medical errors from occurring.
Patients tend to recover more quickly and feel satisfied with the care they receive. They also aren’t as likely to be readmitted to the hospital.
Making Your Healthcare Facility Safe and Comfortable
Now that you have some ideas for implementing strategies in your healthcare facility, you can begin making changes today.
Remember, the simple actions that healthcare providers take each day have the most significant impact on patient safety and comfort.
Be sure to visit our blog to learn more healthcare tips that will inspire positive change in your healthcare facility!