Visits to health and therapeutic care facilities have become a pretty rare event in the time of the Covid pandemic, for all but emergencies. But now as the vaccines kick in and facilities slowly open their doors again, health care providers have the opportunity to rethink and reform the way they do things. If you run a health or therapy business here are some things to consider as part of your re-opening review.
Patients and their families commonly experience anxiety and even fear when entering a healthcare facility. In order to alleviate these negative emotions, facilities can create environments that can increase their clients’ level of comfort. Constructing or altering certain aspects of the healthcare setting can enable this process and allow patients and their families to focus more on their medical treatments and outcomes.
Following Cleaning and Sanitizing Protocols
Comfort in healthcare and therapeutic environments is equated to safety, first and foremost. For facility operators, the well-being of visitors and staff is a top priority. Following safety protocols in high-traffic areas such as waiting and treatment rooms are public health requirements.
In waiting areas, where most patients are ushered into before receiving diagnostic and treatment services, there is a high risk of spreading infections. Cleaning and sanitizing protocols are essential in preventing the transmission of viruses and bacteria on high-touch surfaces. When it comes to this aspect, you should consider hospital chairs, counters, and doorknobs, where high numbers of patients touch physically with their hands, in particular. If these surfaces are not disinfected regularly, the spread of potentially harmful diseases is a constant threat that compromises the mental health of visitors and staff.
Facilitating Physical and Psychological Well-being
Within waiting and treatment areas, besides preserving cleanliness, ensuring physical comfort is essential and must be balanced with selecting materials that comply with mandated cleaning protocols. Furnishings made of materials that are designed specifically for hospitals must be selected to enable the process of wiping them down with disinfectants. However, they should still be chosen to provide a degree of comfort for patients and visitors.
Moreover, creating a physical environment that projects a soothing atmosphere with a neutral colour palette should be reflected not only in the materials of furnishings, but also with other interior features such as walls, floors, and ceilings. The types of lighting from natural and artificial sources can provide extra enhancements to mental well-being for patients as well as the staff who devote long hours to taking care of patients within healthcare facilities.
Maintaining Security and Privacy for Personal Information
Another area related to preserving psychological well-being regarding safety protocols is the protection of personal information stored electronically. Safeguarding patient records is of major importance in preventing the personal information of both patients and staff members from being accessed and used in an inappropriate or illegal manner.
Authorized personnel who have access to patient health records and personal employee information receive training on how to adhere to privacy and security protocols. Employees who violate the code of conduct in regards to how they handle and use personal information can face serious consequences. These procedures provide patients and staff alike with peace of mind that their personal security will not be compromised.
However, threats to the safekeeping of electronically stored information can originate externally as well. Cybersecurity is a serious concern and is the focus of all IT departments within all healthcare facilities. Implementing multiple layers of security measures within computer networks and points of entry are paramount in preventing hackers from corrupting the system’s network or from stealing personal information to be used for criminal purposes.
Providing Licenced and Trained Healthcare Services
The knowledge that licenced and trained professionals possess the ability to provide the necessary treatment or healthcare services instills confidence amongst patients. Healthcare facilities typically perform rigorous screening procedures when hiring employees. Human resources departments ascertain proper licensure and a minimum prescribed level of professional training has been undertaken by all employees hired to work in healthcare facilities. This approach ensures the protection of the public’s safety and that healthcare facilities will be less likely to encounter liability issues.
As most healthcare specialties are ever-changing fields where new discoveries are made and revised modes of practice are implemented, public perceptions can also be improved with the awareness that the regulatory bodies of most healthcare professions require its members to continually update their knowledge base and level of practice through continuing education activities.
Utilising Patient-centred and Effective Communication
In addition to having an assurance that the treatment they receive will be within acceptable standards and of high quality, patients and their families feel more relaxed interacting with care providers who are able to effectively communicate with them. When it comes to discussions on diagnosis and treatment options, a patient’s level of anxiety can elevate significantly. Healthcare practitioners that engage in a direct, user-friendly, and compassionate style of communication can have a significant impact in putting patients at ease.
Maintaining effective communication between patients and care providers is central to creating comfortable healthcare environments. This system of communication should be extended to dialogue regarding care processes as well as patient care that takes place amongst staff members. A more cohesive team of staff members can be built and better patient care can be achieved if team members engage in ongoing communication with each other surrounding patients’ status.
Efficient Processing of Paperwork
In most healthcare facilities, paperwork collecting information on consent forms for all procedures and billing information can be overwhelming for patients to have to deal with. Simplifying this task for patients can help to decrease another source of anxiety. By minimizing the number of forms to fill out or allowing patients to pre-fill forms before they arrive for their appointments, can lessen their stress levels. Making available assistance to fill out the forms can also alleviate feelings of tension associated with having to decipher unfamiliar medical terminology or billing information, especially for older patients or those with lower levels of reading comprehension and language barriers.
By reducing complexities with paperwork, staff members who have to process the forms will also experience less anxiety. A reduction in the amount of administrative work also frees up time for employees to perform other important tasks and facilitates retrieval, storage, and organization of patient information. The end result is a positive impact on employees’ job satisfaction, which translates into providing better services and a more comfortable healthcare environment for staff, patients, and clients.
Healthcare environments can be made more comfortable by improving a variety of safety protocols. Facilitating more effective communication and streamlining administrative tasks can also help decrease psychological tension for healthcare clients and staff. Combining these procedures and offering a comfortable physical environment to receive treatment in will ultimately provide a more overall comfortable experience for staff and patients.