Hospital Gets More Hospitable (LIJ Recognized for Patient Care)

NEW HYDE PARK, NY – LIJ Medical Center was recently given national recognition for its patient care education initiative launched in the Fall of 2011.

The hospital got the first Association for Patient Experience Practice of the Year award at the fourth annual Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience: Empathy and Innovation Summit held by the Association for Patient Experience.

 The hospital underwent a shift in patient care practices, changing its focus from service to hospitality. Agnes Barden, DNP, senior administrative director of the patient and family-centered care department, explained that hospitality focuses on how something is done so now employees think about doing something with and for a patient rather than to the patient.

 “Hospitality is about building connections with the patient and creating positive teamwork,” Ms. Barden said. “The cultural shift at LIJ has made an environment that hones in on quality patient care to make people feel more comfortable while they are getting medical treatment.”
 
 LIJ Medical Center set up classes for its employees that focused on hospitality. The classes ran two hours and all 5,000 hospital staff members participated in one of the more than 300 sessions. The classes featured an open dialogue, role playing exercises about empathizing with patients and observing how hospital employees worked with their patients. Ms. Barden, who led the initiative that has been supported enthusiastically by LIJ Medical Center’s Executive Director Chantal Weinhold, said these classes and efforts helped employees keep in mind what it is like to be a patient.

 In addition to the classes, there is also an initiative in which hospital leaders talk about hospitality-related topics with their staff and other departments. There is also a hospitality observation team, which helps to evaluate the staff’s practices. Employees will have a yearly behavioral competency review as a result of these new policies.

 One example of a change in practices at the hospital is that staff members are encouraged to pull up a chair and sit next to a patient when they are speaking with them instead of standing over their beds.

 Since implementing these practices, the hospital has gotten higher Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores and Ms. Barden said she is seeing more letters from patients who are pleased with their whole hospital experience -- from the valet parker to the physician.

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