Healthcare has undertaken a massive overhaul in the last few years. From having discussions in boardroom, the topic of healthcare seems a central focus of all discussions, be it in social spheres or within the classroom. It is no doubt that the spotlight has inevitably fallen on the hospitals and hospital structures across the country that had massively supported the success of the national vaccination campaign.
“Today, the need of the hour is holistic care management in patient recovery.” Says Vijay Sethi, Group Vice President of Patient Experience & Hospitality at CARE Hospitals. He takes us through key aspects of healthcare that have improved over the years delving into the true impact of healing.
How has the concept of healing over time? Which aspects of healing has the hospital infrastructure improved significantly?
Based on studies that show the positive impact on healing, hospitals are changing radically with innovations in care delivery and organisational structures to create a better healing environment. It is now understood that the quality of patient care is essentially determined by the quality of infrastructure, quality of training, and the competence of personnel efficiency of the operational systems.
Taking better care of patients and improving their outcomes becomes much easier once we engage them in their own care, along with their families. Evidence-based design (EBD) – the process of making changes to the built environment based on research to improve outcomes, has helped lower the incidences of hospital-acquired infections, medical errors, and patient accidents making a huge impact on the overall patient experience.
Which are the various clinical and non-clinical factors unify and impact the complete ecosystem of the patient experience?
- Right communication by trained patient counsellors forms an effective link between the patient and the hospital staff to make the patient’s experience better.
- Frequent room visits by care personnel give the patients more confidence knowing that someone is always there at hand.
- Increasing inpatient activity helps allay the discomfort of being bedridden by helping them turn sides and goes a long way in avoiding a decline in muscle mass or bed sores.
- The comfort of food is a huge contributor to patient wellness. A personal bedside consult with the dietician doubles up as a win-win for healthcare and service from the hospital.
- The right room temperature and air quality help boost patient comfort. Everyone is sensitive to their optimal temperature tolerances and ensuring a comfortable room temperature can have a big impact on overall patient comfort.
- The very thought of hospital beds brings discomfort to mind. However, with changing design ergonomics they are now available with different options for posture and ease. A quick few minutes of explanation can help the patient in knowing what to expect.
- Research has shown that patients with room views of nature or even access to natural light and better-designed rooms needed fewer pain medications and felt far more optimistic about their recovery journey. This has now translated into understanding how design and architecture can go a long way in overall patient care.
- Allowing visitors boosts the mood and makes the recovery process easier. But taking it a step beyond by allowing family or friends to keep them company overnight instils a sense of normalcy which helps with their overall wellbeing.
- It is important to be mindful of resting time, especially if the hospital does allow overnight visitors. Posting quiet hours makes others aware that they need to control their volume and remind them to be conscious of others.
- Studies show that privacy has one of the greatest impacts on patient care delivery and well-being. The respect and dignity meted out at every touchpoint play far more vital roles than just the medicines.
- Emotional connection improves physical and mental health, enhances immune function, and reduces stress consequences. There are 14-17 touchpoints in a patient journey and at the heart of the recovery process is emotional engagement at every touchpoint.
How can we embrace a holistic approach in patient healthcare?
For healthcare organisations to facilitate healing, administrators and leaders must lead the way, strengthening an organisational culture that encourages and enables patient-clinician partnership. Embracing mutuality, cultivating resilient teams, and fostering kindness is an important purpose of healthcare. By modelling these tenets, leaders will make it easier for clinicians and their teams to make the patient experience holistic.
I do believe that by adopting and embracing a holistic approach we can go a long way in patient healthcare.