Friday, December 01, 2006

"This is a caring hospital"

An 82-year-old patient on A-3 was one of the first people to receive and submit the new HCAHPS inpatient experience survey. By all accounts, she received fabulous care, and she is grateful for it.

Read her response to the survey’s open-ended question, “If you could change one thing about this hospital, what would it be?”: “I would move it to my home town, where nursing care has almost disappeared! This is a caring hospital.”

Not surprisingly, she rated the hospital a “10” on a 1-to-10 scale, said she “always” received the care she expected, and would “definitively” recommend Backus Hospital to her family and friends for their healthcare needs.

Not all patients report such positive experiences, of course, but every patient’s survey gives us a chance to assess how we’re doing — and to make the patient experience the very best it can be.

The ability to receive such quick feedback on the 27 HCAHPS questions and nearly as many other survey items is a benefit of our new NRC+Picker survey tool. All clinical directors and department heads, and several other individuals, have ready access to this data, any time on any computer. Feel free to ask any questions — or e-mail a question to Keith Fontaine, Vice President, Corporate Communications at Our survey vendor is eager to provide as much information as possible.

So far, we have received responses from 60 surveys. You can view the survey questionnaire by clicking here.

Next week, we’ll take a closer look at the results so far.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nurses empowered to keep patients safe

Because of the inconsistent nature of vaccine supply and sporadic interest on the part of the general population, administering flu and pneumococcal shots in the hospital is an is an effective way to protect the older and chronically ill population from flu and pneumococcal disease, both of which can lead to hospitalization and even death.

That’s why it’s important that nurses remain aware that they are now empowered to give these shots without individual physician orders. Legislation was passed in 2005 allowing this important patient safety initiative to move forward.

At Backus Hospital, there is a physician-approved policy in place that allows nurses to vaccinate the older and chronically ill population – flu shots to patients 50 and older, and pneumonia shots to patients 65 and older.

“This is an important component of good medicine, and an opportunity for our nurses to identify and help patients at risk,” said Joseph Hughes, Director of Quality Improvement at Backus.

An average of 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations related to flu occur in the U.S. each year.

Pneumococcal disease most commonly presents as a serious infection in the lungs (pneumonia), blood (bacteremia), or brain (meningitis). It kills more people in the U.S. each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined.

With the height of the flu season just around the corner, nurses should keep this hospital protocol in mind for every potential patient, said Karen Long, RN, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer.

“Both of these diseases can cause severe illness and death, especially among the sometimes frail hospitalized population,” Ms. Long said. “This is an important patient safety measure that empowers our nurses to provide the best care to our patients.”

Peter Shea, MD, Medical Director, said hospital vaccination rates are a publicly reported quality measure.

“However, what it’s really about is keeping our patients healthy and safe,” he said.

Anyone with suggestions to help Backus improve patient safety can call Mary Bylone, RN, Assistant Vice President of Patient Care Services and Patient Safety Officer, at ext. 2771 or Mr. Hughes, at ext. 2345.