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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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