By Roxanne Hathway-Baxter
At Runnymede Healthcare Centre, patients are more than just passive recipients of an identical hospital experience. Staff realize that every patient is unique, and they are committed to designing and implementing patient experience strategies that suit the individual, rather than only adhering to what’s been done in the past. This is part of Runnymede’s “You First” philosophy, one of the four pillars that make up its latest Strategic Plan, Vision 2020: Redefining Possible. Teams are perpetually on the lookout for new programs and initiatives that will help to better the day-to-day lives of the patients during their stay at the hospital. Hospital-wide initiatives are being completed, with a notable example being this year’s expansion of visiting hours, in tandem with the activation department’s continued efforts to implement new patient-centred programs and their use of innovative technologies in therapy.
It is more and more common that many families are increasingly spread farther apart geographically than they would have been before. Children might grow up rarely seeing their grandparents, and grandparents, in turn, not seeing their grandchildren. Not having these interactions can be detrimental for both youth and the elderly, diminishing valuable social development and learning opportunities. In October 2015, intergenerational programming was introduced at Runnymede, which sees junior kindergarten students from Humbercrest Public School socializing with patients and participating in creative group activities. The benefits have been mutual, with the activation team seeing increased engagement from patients and teachers noticing that many of the students now have greater comfort levels around people with disabilities or those who have difficulties communicating.
The program was so popular for everyone involved that it has returned for another year starting in September 2016.
Yoga has become an increasingly popular activity for seniors, and in July 2016, a bi-monthly class was introduced at the hospital. Although the class is operating with a senior-friendly philosophy, it’s open to all patients at Runnymede, regardless of age. The health benefits associated with yoga are immense, from increased flexibility and balance to lowered stress and anxiety levels, all of which are important to those going through therapy at the hospital. It has become a very well-attended program, with over 20 patients taking part in each class.
Technology in the activation program
In many cases, integrating technology into activation therapy has been very beneficial to patients. Devices that many people use on a daily basis can have lots of positive outcomes when used in a therapy setting. For instance, using a tablet to talk to far-away loved ones through video calls can be an incredibly enriching experience for a patient. Moreover, this digital face-to-face contact can be helpful to patients who might have difficulties with verbal communication or who have hearing problems that are exacerbated by the non-visual nature of a traditional phone call. Video calls enhance the experience for not only the patient, but for the loved ones as well, helping to foster a powerful connection even if the individuals cannot be physically in the same room.
Getting visitors can be extremely important to patients and is an integral part of the experience they have at the hospital. Visits from loved ones offer much-needed support and are a building block that helps the patient remain positive throughout their stay. Sometimes visiting hours at hospitals can be restrictive, which can make it difficult for loved ones to fit these visits into their busy and ever-changing schedules. Runnymede has recognized this and in the spring of 2016 chose to implement a new hospital-wide initiative, offering 24-hour visiting hours as part of its ongoing commitment to patient-centred care.
Patient satisfaction surveys completed at Runnymede clearly show that these programs and initiatives being implemented are having a positive effect on the patient experience at the hospital. In 2015, 89.2 per cent of patients reported that they were happy with the overall quality of care, which outranks the peer hospital average of 82.4 per cent. Runnymede, it seems, is on the right track when it comes to patient experience.
There is no one program that is the key to enhancing the patient experience. It takes many. Through the implementation of all these programs and initiatives, Runnymede has worked to secure its place as a centre of excellence, putting a strong emphasis on you first by enhancing the patient experience every day. This is an incredibly important endeavor for Runnymede, and one that they plan to never stop pursuing.
Roxanne Hathway-Baxter is a Communications Specialist at Runnymede Healthcare Centre.