The Joint Commission’s “Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care” is a comprehensive roadmap for hospital employees and administrators seeking to counteract suboptimal care due to variables like race, ethnicity, language, disability and sexual orientation. Last week we explored the first two of six potent high-touch areas—admission and assessment.
This week we turn to the crucial moments of treatment and end-of-life care, when effective communication and understanding can vastly improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.
After the information-gathering introductions of admission and assessment, the treatment plan is developed and delivered. During this crucial juncture, patient buy-in is paramount. “The patient has to be able to understand his or her health information and fully participate in the conversation so that the hospital may obtain informed consent, provide patient education, or accommodate any unique needs,” reads the report.
The following checklist is a guide to promoting patient and family involvement. (Note: Practice examples can be found in the Joint Commission’s report. See the link below.)
- Address patient communication needs during treatment.
- Monitor changes in the patient’s communication status.
- Involve patients and families in the care process.
- Tailor the informed consent process to meet patient needs.
- Address patient mobility needs during treatment.
- Accommodate patient cultural, religious or spiritual beliefs and practices.
- Monitor changes in dietary needs or restrictions that may impact the patient’s care.
- Ask the patient to choose a support person if one is not already identified.
- Communicate information about unique patient needs to the care team.
Cultural, spiritual or religious beliefs will have a deep impact on a patient’s preferences during end-of-life stages, which may be a time for palliative, hospice or other supportive care. A provider’s communication methods and cultural competence can go a long way toward delivering the preferred care in the right setting.
The following list is a guide to improving communication, cultural competence and patient-centered care at the latter stages of life. (Note: The Joint Commission report also contains practice examples in this realm.)
- Address patient communication needs during end-of-life care.
- Monitor changes in the patient’s communication status during end-of-life care.
- Involve the patient’s surrogate decision-maker and family in end-of-life care.
- Address patient mobility needs during end-of-life care.
- Identify patient cultural, religious or spiritual beliefs and practices at the end of life.
- Make sure the patient has access to his or her chosen support person.
To read about these interventions, including recommendations on how to implement them in a practical setting, visit the Joint Commission online. Look for tips on the next two areas—discharge and transfer and organization readiness—in next week’s issue of Case In Point Weekly.
Feedback? Contact managing editor Richard Scott here.