Next Steps – Recommendation
In reviewing the data, we recommend that action items revolve around addressing and improving the largest source of complaints first. Items that are within the hospital’s control to be completed relatively quickly should be addressed first. For the items that are more complex and not quickly addressed, a long-term plan aimed at improving items requiring a substantial amount of time and resources should be devised with a realistic and actionable timeline. Devising an action plan with set milestones and deadlines creates a greater sense of urgency to address problem areas while also establishing measures to evaluate the progress and performance of the said plan.
Firstly, it is suggested that Tinsley create and implement an initiative targeted at reducing noise on the unit. This initiative will focus on reminding staff and visitors to be quiet and conscientious while on the medical floor and emphasize their role in creating a quiet and healing environment. This starts with the training of the nursing staff and other personnel to lead by example and thus influence other parties present on the unit floor. Reminders should be displayed throughout the unit in strategic areas that both highly trafficked or where a significant level of nuisance occurs. This is a low-cost initiative that can be complete without significant expense or red tape, and likely to yield a measurable level of influence. Secondly, placing more rigid regulations on the number of visitors, and allowable time limits and lengths of visits will help problematic patrol visitors that contribute to noise pollution. While not much can be done to control patient behavior and noise other than ensuring patients are properly tended to and comfortable, nurses should be held accountable for noise levels and bothersome activities at night. Nurses should lead the charge in creating a quiet environment and minimizing light and noise pollution. Proper attention to these initiatives can be the first step in a larger plan to create a more patient-focused environment on the 3rd floor.
Additionally, if the budget and proper technology are in place, patients could be provided with headphones to watch television while allowing others the quiet they desire.
Furthermore, limiting the use of the room TV’s around quiet hours and placing governors on the televisions to regulate the volume can adequately address noise complaints stemming from non-vital equipment. The hospital can consider updating equipment to provide patients with speakers near the bedside, or, as some hospitals already practice, have the sound from the TV come out of bed control or call buttons. Implementing measures to control for television volume levels and appropriate hours of use is an easy way to cut down on the noise and after hour complaints. Posters regarding the quiet initiative can be placed in each room with posters near patient beds to remind to the patients about the initiative. Additionally, nurses need to attend to and silence alarms quickly, especially in the evening hours and limit the number of fire drills as long as the hospital remains compliant with safety regulations.
Furthermore, patients have presented a need for increased privacy when in a multiple occupancy room. If not already in place, privacy curtains should surround each bed, allowing a patient to open or close the curtains as desired. The curtains may also serve as a noise and light blocking device should a patient need quiet time, and allow for more personalized consultations and intimate patient-nurse interactions out of sight from other room occupants.
Another area of concern that should be quickly addressed is the quality of drinking water available to patients. There are several vendors that offer water service and cups and can supply the unit with clean drinking water. The patients can use this water as well for hygiene purposes such as brushing their teeth or washing their faces. A more expensive approach would be to install filters on the taps inpatient rooms or install a water softener or filtration device to address the levels of iron in the water throughout the entire hospital. This would likely require some approval process or proposal for increased capital expenditures, and financial analysis should be conducted to measure the feasibility of the initiative versus waiting for the excellent renovation to begin. Due to the amount of red tape that would likely have the navigated through, Tinsley should focus on finding a vendor to supply drinking water stations and bedside water bottles to less mobile patients.
Furthermore, another essential and very inexpensive action item is to hold cleaning staff accountable for the room cleanliness, set clear expectations, and measure their progress. If this is not able to be done with the current group, the hospital should consider looking at other new cleaning companies as long as the termination of the employment contract would not threaten continued operations, such as at companies where unions hold a significant level of power. Sheets should be, clean and stain-free 100% of the time. Methods to remove stains from showers, sinks, and toilets should be improved upon, and implemented in the least intrusive way possible. Moreover, finally, regular cleaning and inspection schedule should be created to ensure that the quality of cleanliness is met before a patient enters a room.
Lastly, since the temperature of the rooms most likely stays within a specific range for health regulations, provide patients with personal items that can help increase their comfort. Blankets or personal fans should be readily available upon request, and patients should be informed that such options are available. Schedule maintenance to have all cooling and heating systems checked to ensure that they are working correctly, and there are no problem rooms. For thermostats located within patient rooms, a governor should be installed, much like on the televisions, so that an upper and lower limit exists to avoid extreme settings from either patient in the room. If this is not financially feasible or doable within the eight weeks, plastic covers can be placed over the thermostat so that the thermostat can only be accessed with a key. This would provide more power to the nurses to control and regulate temperatures and prevent undue nuisances from non-conforming patients.
The above recommendations, unless otherwise noted, should affect the majority of complaints and be within Tinsley’s power to address. The Pareto principle is likely applicable to the Herzog case, where 80% of the intended effects can be accomplished by addressing 20% of the causes. By focusing on the three primary areas of concern revealed through patient satisfaction comments, Tinsley can capitalize on the Pareto principle and retain patients. Other solutions that do not focus on the three most significant areas of opportunity are meant to be efficient and inexpensive ways to increase patient satisfaction and comfort level. To properly execute these action items, a designated individual, should be tasked with designing and implementing strategic solutions focused on the primary concern areas, and rolled out to the rest of the staff in a cohesive manner. Smaller action items that do not require a lot of planning and analysis and that can be implemented with ease can be adeptly addressed by Tinsley in the interim. In summation, our recommendations are not meant to be collectively exhaustive, but rather focus on the areas that likely to have the most significant impact in eliminating patient dissatisfaction.
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Hi there! I’m a Full Stack Developer and Project Manager with experience in delivering creative and effective solutions across healthcare, higher education, nonprofits, and other industries. I’m very passionate about transforming operations with technology and challenging standard practices. My strategy tends to focus is on people interactions, how we learn, perform, and communicate.