19 Apr 2018

Improving Communication between Caregivers and Patients

leadershiprounds, nurserounds, patientexperiencerounds, postdischargerounds, preadmissionrounds

Jolinda Lambert, Vice President Enterprise Solutions

According to regulatory agencies, communication failure between doctors, nurses, and patients is the leading cause of medical and medication errors.  Errors impact not only patient safety and patient care but also patient and staff satisfaction.  How can a team of caregivers improve communication among their own team as well as improve communication with patients?  Rounding can be an essential tool in ensuring communication is timely, accurate, complete, and clear.

Here are three simple rounds that can help your organization get started with improving communication between caregivers and between caregivers and patients.

  • Patient Admission & Discharge Rounds: Communication with the patient begins at the start of their stay in the hospital, often in the Emergency Room.  Admission rounds allow hospital personnel to communicate the admission process, clinical procedures and other aspects of their care while waiting to get to their inpatient bed. Discharge rounds bring together multiple disciplines within the hospital to focus on communicating continued care outside of the hospital.  Either type of round encourages continual communication between caregiver and the patient.  This constant communication has been proven to reduce readmission rates by up to 12%
  • Leadership/Direct Report Rounds: Using the data collected from leadership rounds, management can determine and communicate to staff the areas that require corrective action as well as communicate quality measures to the team.  Communication includes both listening and speaking so it is important that management listens, responds, and acts to ensure communication does not stop or fall on deaf ears.
  • Nurse/Hourly Rounds: It has been proven that caregiver presence with hourly rounding throughout the stay prepares patients on what to expect during their stay and after discharge.  This has allowed for better response to call lights and concerns while also improving care. This includes proper medication management instructions to drive down medication errors.  In addition, Nurse Rounds allow the team to identify early warning signs of complications or adverse events that could prevent a discharge or create a readmission.  The impacts of hourly rounding have been proven to positively impact HCAHPS scores.

With a structured rounding routine, both leaders and caregivers can not only improve communication but also contribute to the efficiency, safety, and teamwork to address patient satisfaction.  Using the data collected from a rounding solution, leaders can easily determine the areas that need correction or improvement, communicate these quality measures to the team and provide the resources and training necessary to promote learning and continuous improvement.

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