Make modern amenities available
Does your hospital offer patients free Wi-Fi? Do you provide computer kiosks that family may use? If you don't already, it's time to start considering these investments. Patients and their family members expect to be able to stay connected throughout the course of their stay.
The three hospitals I researched, Starbucks, McDonald's, and even some airlines offer free Wi-Fi access. In addition to keeping in touch with work, family, and friends, patients need Internet access to view their electronic medical records.
Beyond Internet access, Children's Hospital Colorado patient rooms also feature flat-screen televisions and video on-demand. It also offers patients a room-service menu featuring healthy meal and snack options for patients and family members.
Lenox Hill Hospital, in addition to free wifi and its flat-screen TVs, provides Bose sound systems in its maternity rooms. It also offers birthing balls, baby photography services, and a "preferred" dining menu.
These more modern entertainment and dining features had no place in the hospitals of yesterday, but now they are becoming expected. If you can't yet invest in flat screens or built-in sound systems, try to help patients get the most out of whatever entertainment you have available. Provide patients and family members with a list of TV channels they can get in their room and have staff instruct them on how to use the remote.
When I was hospitalized as a child one of my nurses brought in her daughter's "Lion King" VHS tape for me to watch, and it is one of the few pleasant memories of my stay. It's the small, simple touches like these that can make a world of difference to a patient.