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4 Steps That Could Improve Patient Care Guaranteed!

4 Steps That Could Improve Patient Care Guaranteed!

At the core of any medical establishment is the patient. Therefore, everyone in the business needs to be seeking to find ways on an ongoing basis to improve the care that they offer to each and every patient. Sometimes, with the best will in the world, things do go wrong, and understanding the fundamental nature of these problems is a key challenge to putting in place processes that will avoid their recurrence in future. But what other steps can be taken to improve patient care?

1. Providing Support for Staff

Several investigations into failing healthcare institutions in recent years have highlighted one particular area that all medical institutions could improve upon – supporting their staff.  Health care professionals are under immense pressure and work with an awkward system that often feels like it is designed to make their work harder, rather than easier.

They also see people at their most vulnerable and therefore, potentially, prone to irrational emotional responses – suffering from ill health, concerned for the wellbeing of their loved ones, confused and frightened.

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It is clear that adequate support for staff is key to improving patient care. Sickness rates and stress levels are higher in medical professions than in many other industry sectors, and staff risk burning out from the incessant pressure. While this doesn’t account for all the issues experienced by some failing institutions, it does highlight a general problem that can easily be addressed and with profoundly positive results if it is managed in the right way, with skill and compassion.

Therefore, offering staff better than adequate support should be one of the top priorities of any institution. As well as providing help, it is also important to give staff outlets to express their concerns. One example of how to do this is through the formation of a multi-disciplinary team, whose objective is to look at each case and to draw conclusions that are likely to offer a well-rounded viewpoint.

2. Continuous Development of Staff

With busy schedules and difficult workloads, staff development can sometimes be sidelined, but studies have shown that the continuous development of staff has a positive outcome on patient care levels.

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One example comes from the Yorkshire & Humber Improvement Academy and their Reducing Hospital Falls programme. This programme was designed to help frontline hospital staff to reduce the number of patient falls. The programme has yielded impressive results and shown a substantial return on investment in terms of preventing such accidents and changing the mindset of staff towards such incidents.

3. Training Staff to deal with Incident Investigation

Incidents are part of daily life in a medical institution, but the importance placed on their investigation can vary. By trying to ignore a problem, this often leads to its escalation over a period of time, alongside an inherent feeling from staff that they knew such an issue existed, but that there was no system in place to deal with it.

Training staff to deliver an incident investigation is key to improving patient care, by helping them to spot potential incidents before they happen, or by following an established process to learn from those that have taken place. Root cause analysis is one of the best ways that institutions can assess what has happened, and the changes that need to be made to reduce the likelihood of its reoccurrence.

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To perform an effective and comprehensive root cause analysis investigation, staff require the correct training. While not everyone needs to be trained, it is important that there are the right people within every institution who are able to carry out the work, and to provide a clearly defined outcome that all staff can learn from.

4. Involving Patients and their Families in Decision-Making

Involving patients and their families in the decision-making process has been shown to be a key step towards improving patient care. No one likes to feel excluded or confused about their situation, especially when it affects their health, or the health of a loved one.

When staff include patients as much as possible with the diagnosis possibilities, and review all treatment options with them, this feeling of being excluded from the process is clearly removed, to be replaced with a more trusting relationship which benefits all parties concerned.

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The Shared Decision Making system instituted by the NHS is a perfect example of this, working through patient questions to provide them with the information they need. They can then make a more informed decision about how to proceed, and they tend to feel that they are in control of their treatment by going through this process, rather than simply being a passenger along for a ride, without a voice in the matter.

Finding the time to go through this process might seem impossible to staff, who are constantly run off their feet, but the fact is that time invested up-front is always saved down the line, and it will ensure also that a happier staff-patient-family member relationship is established from the word go, based upon a foundation of knowledge, input and trust.

Featured photo credit: http://www.nuemd.com/news/2015/09/10/open-medical-notes-may-improve-patient-care via nuemd.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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