Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Know a Hospital is Not a Hotel

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted; sorry to those of you who do look at my little blog.

I just read this article, and I have to say I was a little peeved that I couldn't comment on it. A little background:

The article is written by a nurse, and she is talking about the trend of hospitals to seek customer satisfaction input and how now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be basing reimbursement on the same patient satisfaction indicators.

What I have to say in response is that I know the hospital is not a hotel. Some of you may know that my mom has been in the hospital, three different hospitals, actually, over the past 3 weeks. I can tell you without a doubt that my "customer satisfaction" as a daughter has  changed sometimes by the minute. I can parse out the fact that my mother feels lousy, and some of the things they have to do make her feel even worse in the short term.

What I know is that the way each procedure, whether it's walking in physical therapy or inserting a PICC line is enhanced or made worse by the attitude of the medical professional. I have witnessed some truly awful nursing and doctoring, and let me tell you, when it's your mother, there is no satisfaction. And sometimes five minutes later someone with more care and compassion comes in and satisfaction goes up.

Having worked in hospitals, where I had to give people those satisfaction surveys, the hope is that people had more of the good experiences. The author of the New York Times editorial thinks that the person who gets the bad news that they have terminal cancer will somehow be less satisfied with the hospital.

My position is that the person who gets that bad news is going to be influenced positively or negatively by the way they were told. I have seen people get horrible news, but news that is delivered with care and compassion. The same people go on to report a positive hospital experience, because the doctor and nurses and social workers took the time to deliver the news in a humane and compassionate manner.  Let that be the standard.