As a healthcare system we are glaringly aware, and financially penalized, for Never Events. Procedures and outcomes that should “never” occur in hospital settings such as a wrong-site surgery or hospital acquired infections. While it is critically important that safety and quality initiatives create a defect free environment, the unintended consequence of this focus is often times increased administrative burdens, checklists, or worse punitive cultures that no longer acknowledge the emotional and spiritual needs of patients.
As a counter-balance to Never Events, we applaud the Picker Institute for the creation and promotion of “Always Events”; standards of practice and care that every patient and family member should receive along their journey. Done well, “Always Events” define a culture and create lasting impressions.
In a recent exercise, it was fun to see our clients convert patient obstacles into “Always Standards” that will soon define their respective institutions.
Challenge: If I look lost, I am lost.
Response: Always take patients where they need to go.
Challenge: Greet me and my family
Response: Always take the time to look up to say hello to patient and families.
Challenge: Get to know me
Response: Always ask about our patient’s fears and concerns.
Challenge: Acknowledge my preferences
Response: Always strive to create a memorable moment
Challenge: Ease my journey
Response: Always ensure patients spend more time fighting their disease than the hassles of our system.
Implementing these practices requires hard work and dedication, but results in what our good friend at Maple Grove Hospital would describe as “healthcare the way it ought to be.”