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3 Inexpensive Ways to Enhance Patient Experience

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, February 5, 2014

Fancy amenities such as gourmet meals, healing gardens, and multi-million dollar expansion projects can make patients feel good about a hospital stay, but there are cheaper ways to bolster the patient experience.

When one thinks of drastically improving the patient experience at a hospital or health system, it's easy to conjure up images of multi-million dollar state-of-the-art expansion projects, with spacious private rooms orbiting a cavernous light-filled atrium that leads to an expansive healing garden.

Amenities such as these are wonderful but out of reach for many, if not most, organizations. But there are other ways—inexpensive ways—to bolster the patient experience. Here are a few ideas:

1. Offer Open Visiting Hours
Offering open visiting hours improves the patient and family experience and does not cause interference for hospital staff, according to research published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality.

For the study, researchers compared patient satisfaction scores before and after the enactment of a 24-hour visitation policy at a 690-bed tertiary acute care facility and 78-bed rehabilitation hospital. They found that, for the first eight months of the open visitation policy, the medical center received 14,444 visitors during the after-hours period from 8PM to AM. And, contrary to common belief, during this time, there was no change in the incidence of security events and no increase in the number of complaints from patients or visitors.

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2 comments on "3 Inexpensive Ways to Enhance Patient Experience"


Kristin Baird (2/9/2014 at 6:34 PM)
Marianne, thank you for sharing these suggestions. Everything that a patient and family encounters is part of the experience and should match the promise. If the hospital promises patient and family-centeredness then all of the examples you gave are right on target. And best of all, they don't have to cost millions of dollars. Look around and you will find ways to become more patient and family centered.

risk management (2/9/2014 at 8:27 AM)
Thanks a lot for your great article.