Nurses at Jefferson Hospital in Jefferson Hills are “leading the way” in quality, safety and patient satisfaction initiatives. This is not new for nursing, but it is wonderful to recognize the impact that nurses have on our patients, physicians and organization, said Cynthia Ragan, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. A few recent examples illustrate nursing’s commitment to providing exceptional patient care, at all hours of the day and night.
Quietly Working to Improve Care
Research has proven that quiet hospital environments promote faster healing while decreasing stress and anxiety and even lowering patients’ blood pressure.
At Jefferson Hospital, a major “Quiet Time” initiative is underway to bring down the noise and bring up patient satisfaction scores. A multi-disciplinary team that includes nurses is engaged in a number of measures aimed at reducing noise levels and increasing staff awareness throughout the hospital to ensure an overall positive experience for patients and their families.
A quiet time checklist has been developed for the nursing units as a reminder to close doors at night, dim the lights, close the shades, and lower voices to minimize noise levels. A message broadcast each evening on the intercom will let everyone know that “Visiting hours have ended and quiet time has begun.” Patients will be encouraged to reduce the volume of their televisions and place cell phones on vibrate or silent mode.
One of the more innovative measures being promoted by the team is a “Quiet Time Menu” featuring complimentary natural sleep and relaxation aids that patients may request from their nurses. The menu features a quiet-time mascot shaped like a light bulb, donning a night cap and appropriately named “QT.” Menu items include:
• Bedside Sound Machine – A portable sound machine that produces a selection of soothing white noise
• Bedside CD player and music – A selection of relaxation music (or patients may bring a CD from home)
• Aromatherapy – A variety of soothing aromas to create a more healing, pleasing environment
• Eye mask and/or ear plugs – A mask to minimize light and earplugs to reduce noise
• Scheduled rest time – Staff will accommodate a specified rest time that meets patients’ needs
• Sleep-time snacks – Warm milk, banana, crackers with peanut butter or cheese, decaffeinated or herbal tea
• Extra Linens – Additional pillow and blankets available for patients’ comfort
Hospital staff – particularly those who work the evening and night shift – are dedicated to giving patients the best possible hospital experience as they (very quietly) strive for excellence.
Universal Patient Armbands
One of The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals is accurate patient identification. This goal requires health care workers to utilize at least two different ways to identify patients to ensure they receive the correct medications and treatments. A safety concern was brought to the attention of Joy Peters, DNP, RN, MSN, MBA, associate nurse executive, by Jennifer Neff, a registered nurse on one of Jefferson Hospital’s patient care units. She had discovered a patient who had two armbands, one from a previous admission, and an armband that corresponded with his current admission.
The concern was that the patient, who was elderly, may not have been being properly identified for medications and treatments. A Perfect Admission/Discharge Team was developed to address compliance with many regulatory standards including patient identification. The team is comprised of frontline staff including registered nurses, unit clerks, and members of the leadership team. One of Jefferson’s nurses, Lisa Spagnolo RN, took on the challenge of the universal arm band for her Capstone Project while completing her Master’s degree in Nursing from California University.
After researching the problem with all departments in the hospital, a decision was made to have patients wear a universal armband that includes the patient’s name, MR number, account number, birth date, physician name and admission date. The room number does not appear on the band. As a result, patients are able to keep the same armband from admission to discharge which improves patient safety and involves a cost savings for the hospital.
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