Hospital Customer Service
by Di B
I've just had an unexpected stay in a hospital and I've seen the best and the worst of customer or patient care in the NHS.
In the admissions ward, the nursing was awful ( they even lost an elderly patient who'd gone for a walk and got lost ) they noticed she was missing after half an hour. Just to give some context this was a fast moving ward, where patients were "held" before they could go to the specialist wards.
So what made the care awful?
* none of the nursing staff seemed to connect with any of the patients
* their focus was on form filling rather than a conversation with the patient
* they weren't paying attention to things that weren't in their job list - alarms may be sounding on machines ( for over 20 minutes ) but if it wasn't their job then they didn't pay attention to it
* they didn't smile
* they didn't seem to know anything about why people were there
* the nursing staff often stood around chatting, or carried their activities out while talking across patients about boyfriends, changes in rota, etc
* some of them didn't seem to know what they were doing
* they didn't help patients with tasks they needed help with, and would stand and watch them struggle rather than help
So what made the care exceptional in the second ward?
I was moved to a ward where there was a spare bed. This was a ward of elderly women, several of whom had dementia. The spotlight is on in the media in the UK at the moment about the level of care for the elderly, and this was an interesting experience.
What did the medical staff do that made a difference?
* when they came of duty, they introduced themselves, and had a chat with people on the ward
* they used their names when speaking to them
* they noticed things - one nurse asked me whether there was any reason why I was lying with my arm extended, I explained it was because the drip was hurting me, so she sorted it. I had been doing the same for the previous three days
* they talked to patients not at or over them, even when they were discussing care with their relatives.
* they smiled and laughed with people
* they made sure they got the food they wanted, I was even told there was whisky if they wanted a nip of whisky in their tea to help them sleep
* everyone knew their job, and they helped each other out
Same hospital, and lots of these would be management rather than training issues but that can apply to a lot of customer care departmemts.