Patient Experience Taskforce makes patient satisfaction a priority

Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) is on record for providing Outstanding Care – No Exceptions!  One of its core indicators is to improve patient satisfaction. The Beryl Institute defines the patient experience as the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perception across the continuum of care.  Achieving maximum patient satisfaction is something that must be apparent from the professional staff, front line staff and volunteers, every day.

The word “dignity” derives from the Latin word “dignitas”, meaning worthy and, is further defined as the ability to feel important and valuable in relation to others, something extremely important when caring for patients. Dignity, therefore, is a subjective concept that is dependent on how individuals are influenced by different social, psychological and cultural factors. Culture, for example, plays an important role in how dignity is perceived and maintained, and individuals often set their own standards of dignified behavior according to how they have been socialized.

WRH has learned that, to advance our vision of Outstanding Care – No Exceptions, we need to reach out further to our patients who are telling us that we need to improve on delivering care with more compassion. Hospitalization is a stressful situation in and of itself. At WRH, four out of 10 patients have reported a lack of satisfaction with the emotional support they are receiving. Emotional support is defined as an organization’s response to patient’s fears, anxieties and stress levels.The percentage is unacceptable to what we know we can achieve.

WRH uses the NRC Picker Institute survey to obtain feedback from patients after receiving treatment and care at the hospital. Currently, only 68 per cent of the patients we cared for are satisfied with the emotional support received as outlined in the survey results (compared to the current High Performing Ontario Hospitals ratio of 85.2 per cent).

In its current work, Windsor Regional Hospital has identified eight dimensions of care that it is focusing on in Emergency, Medicine, Surgery, Cancer, Paediatrics, Family Birthing and Rehabilitation. WRH has established a 15 point improvement target ratio and aims to ultimately achieve a goal of 100 per cent.

Moving forward on the initiative, a Patient Experience Task Force was organized for each program dimension and now working diligently, they are developing monthly action plans to help drive improvement in our patient satisfaction with emotional care. In an effort to understand where we needed to focus, patients and their families were asked direct questions such as, how staff and physicians helped to relieve their fear and anxiety; has someone been available to talk to them about their needs; what staff has done well on their behalf and; is there something we can improve on related to relieving their fear and anxiety while being cared for at the hospital? A total of 345 responses were received which helped to form the basis of the work that the task force is focused on related to the emotional needs of patients.

Recently, a new theme, ‘Compassion is our Passion’ was launched to move forward with the many initiatives that the Patient Experience Task Force introduced.  One of the more unique actions was to develop a ‘compassion moment’ where, during various times of the day, a short musical bridge will be played overhead. It is hoped that staff, upon hearing the ‘musical moment’ will be reminded to continue to provide emotional care while caring for their patients.

“As WRH continues to live its vision of Outstanding Care – No Exceptions, our future patients will see positive results from their experience with us as a result of the emotional care provided.” says David Musyj, President and CEO, Windsor Regional Hospital.

Over time, WRH is optimistic that results will show that emotional care has improved overall patient satisfaction.