Outpatient Surgery Magazine

OR Excellence Awards - September 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Contents of this Issue


Page 29 of 71

ones who brought them to relay important informa- tion to caregivers, as well as to navigate the hospital so they don't get lost. That wasn't possible with the COVID-19 restrictions in place. "If a family member isn't present to advocate for their loved one, some patients don't tell staff what they need to know," says Ms. Morris. "The brief inter- views at the cars were engaging discussions that nor- mally would have taken place inside, and included the family members chiming in with useful information." Even though the three-person teams disbanded after six weeks, the personal calls that replaced the automated pre-op calls remain. "We didn't know what we didn't know before," explains Ms. Morris. "Patients were telling us issues that needed address- ing — things we wouldn't have discovered until they arrived. Some were issues that caused case delays. Now we know in advance." The greeting team took family members' contact information, allaying their greatest fears: Who was going to call them and how were they going to know what was going on with the surgery? They were very nervous about the prospect of dropping their loved ones off and not hearing from anyone. "Having surgery is always frightening — imagine it taking place at the beginning of a pandemic," says Ms. Morris. "Patients knew we were there for them and family members were very grateful to turn their loved ones over to staff members who they could connect with. They saw we really cared." OSM 3 0 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 The coronavirus outbreak forced staff at Centennial Surgery Center in Nashville, Tenn., to improve how they inter- act with patients and their loved ones. "We decided that better com- munication was the best way to keep everyone informed about social distancing and other COVID-protocols," says Lori Bates, CASC, the center's administrator. Patients receive a pre- op call explaining coronavirus-related protocols, which include arriving only 60 to 90 minutes before the start of the case, a change from the former two-hour advance arrival time. On the day of surgery, loved ones — whether they're in the waiting room or staying outside in their vehi- cle — are updated when patients complete their pre-op assessments and anesthesia interviews. The OR circulator then lets the family mem- ber know when the procedure will start and esti- mates how long it will take. The surgeon calls shortly after the proce- dure ends with an update. Finally, a PACU nurse calls to say the patient is recovering and close to meeting the dis- charge criteria — and then calls again with dis- charge instructions. "It sounds like a lot of communicating — and it is," says Ms. Bates. "However, the calls are very quick, and the basic message is 'We're taking good care of your loved one.' We've chosen to flood our patients' family members with messages to create a better- than-ever experience." The new communication chain was started to keep family members connected to patients because the coronavirus kept them from pre-op and PACU bays, but the once-temporary meas- ures are now a fixture. "We saw how much the calls reassure patients' families, so we're going to keep them in place," says Ms. Bates. — Adam Taylor CHECKING IN Family members typically get four or five calls from different members of the Centennial Surgery Center clinical staff to keep them informed of their loved ones' progress. COVID-19 Inspires Constant Communication HONORABLE MENTION PATIENT SATISFACTION

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