One of the most obvious changes in hospitals and other medical facilities felt by patients and their families over the course of the last year has been communication and engagement practices by doctors and staff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and various social distancing and health and safety measures across the healthcare industry, patients and their families have not only had to deal with the added stress of feeling safe within a hospital setting, but also the worry of adequate care and communication within these enhanced-isolation situations. Patients and their families have stressed the most beneficial element to ensuring a positive hospital stay, outside of quality care, is timely and clear communication.
Patient- and family-centered rounds are the ideal setting for healthcare teams, patients, and their families to build rapport and connection during the communication process. While rounds may look a little different today than they once did, keeping this practice top-of-mind helps to reinforce expectations patients and families have of what a hospital stay may consist of.
Oftentimes patients and their family members or caregivers feel anxious and/or helpless in these situations and are looking for anything that can provide them with a sense of control. Parents and caregivers feel value in being recognized as experts about the care of their loved ones. It is important for healthcare teams to welcome questions, insight, and concerns from these family members in order to build trust and respect. Protip: task caregivers with recording patient symptoms (such as labored breathing, fatigue, etc.) or actions between rounds (such as fluid intake or amount of rest). This allows caregivers to feel like they are contributing as well as helps to lessen stress or anxiety.
Many hospitals and medical care facilities are increasing the use of technology to promote communication. Examples of this include integrating workstations on wheels, tablets or mobile devices with video-conferencing software, or even by simply adding more communication via email and phone.
Let’s take a look at one specific story from Stacy, a parent of a young child with special needs, and her experience using Vocera Ease at Orlando Health and how the use of this piece of technology positively impacted their hospital stay amid the COVID-19 pandemic:
“Last April, when COVID-19 and the precautions surrounding the very unknown-at-the-time virus were high, my son was admitted to the hospital for an infection unrelated to the virus. At first, we were placed in an isolated room until his symptoms could be monitored and he could be cleared. During this time, no one was allowed in the hospital or room other than myself".
“After two days in isolation, we found out he would need to have emergency surgery, but still, no family was allowed in the waiting room besides myself. As a parent of a special needs child, we are experienced in hospital stays and surgery situations, however, dealing with these things during a worldwide pandemic were so much different. The stress and anxiety I felt during the surgery was intensified by the fact I had to wait alone".
“There was one thing that did help with this though. Orlando Health offered an app that would allow for updates to be sent to myself and others I added to the approved communication list. Before, during, and after the surgery, communication, including pictures of what was happening, were provided through the app to all of us. One thing I was most amazed with was during recovery. I wasn’t able to be with my son during this time and he was asking for something that the nurses could’nt quite figure out. They used the Ease app to send me a voice recording of what he was saying and I was able to tell them what he was asking for".
“It is truly amazing that from this one simple app, I can receive doctors notes, lab work results, and so much more. Being able to communicate with my son’s entire healthcare team is a true blessing for a special needs mom. And the fact I don’t have to relay the messages to our extended family makes life so much easier, too".
It is obvious the Vocera Ease app reduces anxiety, keeps patients and loved ones informed, and offers an incomparable level of inclusion and transparency. Ease is currently being used by healthcare teams across the United States to keep patients and families informed and at ease. For more information or to request a demo contact us today.