CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Hospital was applauded for an innovative program that has improved its patient care and satisfaction during a special awards ceremony on Wednesday.
Andy Carter, president and chief executive officer of The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, presented the prestigious HAP 2013 Achievement Award to the Clearfield Hospital for its “A Culture of Always” program. Clearfield Hospital, according to him, was one of only 19 hospitals recognized statewide for innovative programs to improve patient care and safety, workplace relations and community benefits. This year, Carter said, there were 131 entries from across the commonwealth.
“I’m pleased to be here today to help you take note of a really special accomplishment,” said Carter. “. . . This award program started a long time ago in 1978, and in that time, we’ve observed tremendous forward movement in healthcare.
“Today, in 2013, we’re at a place where we can take tremendous pride in our breakthroughs. For this award today, I want you to appreciate how exceptional it is. We received 131 entries this year, and they’re only awarding 19 of these awards. That’s a pretty distinctive achievement.”
He said by implementing the “A Culture of Always” program, the Clearfield Hospital discovered a way to hardwire numerous tools and processes that have resulted in significant improvements in patient satisfaction measures and a sharp decline of 25 percent in patient grievances.
The program, “A Culture of Always,” was established in August of 2011 under the leadership of Dolores “Dee” Hanna, R.N., education manager; Kathy Baumgratz, R.N., medical/surgical director; and Kathy Bedger, chief nursing officer, according to Gary Macioce, president of Clearfield Hospital. He said as hospital leaders, they recognized the need to take the organization to a higher level of performance as it relates to patient and family satisfaction.
“They followed a very formal and empirical approach toward affecting something as subjective and emotional as patient satisfaction,” said Macioce. “Their program used evidence-based tools that were put into action to raise patient satisfaction scores here at Clearfield Hospital.”
According to Hanna and Baumgratz, they placed emphasis on “doing and saying the right things always to every patient” during every shift every day to create “A Culture of Always.” The nursing team incorporated hourly rounding and bedside shift reports as two methods to improve patient satisfaction. They said this improves communication between nurses and patients while the shift report is an essential part of providing continuity care from one shift to the next and transferring important information from one caregiver to another.
They said the bedside report has the advantage of involving the patient and can help put his/her mind at ease. In addition, they said it provides the opportunity for the patient and the oncoming shift nurse to meet. When the two nurses assess a patient together, they said it helps develop a snapshot of the patient’s condition at that moment.
“Hourly rounding and bedside shift reports were complemented by ongoing staff education and continued evaluation of the staff’s performance to ensure that all nurses were embracing the program,” said Hanna and Baumgratz. In the year that followed the implementation of the program, Clearfield Hospital’s patient satisfaction scores improved in all 10 categories measured. Of those, eight showed scores better than the national average; the hospital’s complaints were also cut in half.
“Peer-to-peer accountability has skyrocketed and the hospital’s staff, patients and families love the interaction and engagement,” said Hanna and Baumgratz. Baumgratz added, “I’m extremely honored that Clearfield Hospital was an HAP Achievement Award recipient. Our transformation to ‘A Culture of Always,’ providing consistent, evidence-based, quality care can be attributed to the dedication, hard work and commitment of the staff. I am so proud of their accomplishments.”
Baumgratz shared a letter she’d received from a patient’s family. The letter stated, in part: “I just wanted to write a letter acknowledging the nursing staff on the first floor wing. My mother was a patient there and spent the last few weeks of her life there . . . there was so much professionalism and compassion for our mother and also for us.
“We were so blessed every day. I loved the fact that after each shift change, the nurses who were in charge of our mother’s care would come in and review her case in front of her and us. It gave a face to see for us and for them. We know our mother was a person, not just a patient.”
Hanna thanked Carter for acknowledging their success and honoring them with the prestigious award. She said they were excited to be recognized for achieving their goal. “There’s no greater responsibility than that of ensuring a caring environment for our patients and their families as we provide the patient care of the highest quality,” said Hanna.
“Our initiative, ‘A Culture of Always,’ has brought that to the forefront. The positive comments our staff receives from patients and families for the changes we’ve made have been rewarding. But the recognition from an outside organization, such as HAP, provides additional validation and inspiration for our ongoing effort.”
Macioce believed satisfaction with care and services is inherently something that all hospital workers want to produce. He was impressed with the cultural changes at the Clearfield Hospital. “This is truly a red-letter day when we’re able to take this time to recognize a significant accomplishment for our organization,” he said.
“’A Culture of Always’ simply means to always and consistently serve our patients in a manner that is compassionate, respectful, informative, competent and safe. But our work is very demanding; it’s very complex, and we often don’t control all of the variables affecting patient and family satisfaction, and the expectations of patients are naturally high. I would personally like to thank Mrs. Hanna and Mrs. Baumgratz for their leadership and dedication, our board for their support and the employees and physicians of Clearfield Hospital for proudly serving our community and ensuring a positive experience for patients.”
Macioce said the Clearfield Hospital plans to continually improve its delivery of care through the implementation of additional performance improvement programs.