10 things emergency department patients want during a hospital stay

For patients who find themselves in the emergency department, communication from clinicians is key to giving them a better experience.

To improve patient experience, hospitals need to act on patient feedback, Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD and senior vice president for clinical safety at Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealthcare, wrote in a blog post for Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine's Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.

Dr. Pronovost helped compile "patient wish lists" using the most common pieces of feedback the hospital received from patient letters or surveys.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council developed individual patient wish lists to speak to their own patient populations' specific needs, including ED patients, a spokesperson for Johns Hopkins Medicine told Becker's Hospital Review.  

Here are 10 things adult ED patients said they wanted from clinicians during their time at the hospital:

1. Communication in a caring and empathetic manner. Clinicians should try to walk in patients' shoes, even in a brief conversation, to better understand their needs. 

2. Communication about their comfort. ED patients want to stay as comfortable as possible while waiting for care. Clinicians should offer them blankets, nourishment if allowed, and an ear to hear their concerns.

3. Communication about their results. Patients often are eager to learn their lab tests and procedure results, as well as their medical status and admission/discharge expectations. Clinicians can reassure patients by keeping them fully updated or even by telling them the results are still in review. 

4. Communication about medication. Hospital staff should be clear about what medication ED patients will receive, as well as when to expect it, how much, how often and possible side effects.

5. Communication about next steps and delays. Clinicians should be aware that time passes slowly for ED patients waiting for updates and tests results and regularly inform them of any changes. 

6. Communication about nourishment. If clinicians offer patients nourishment, they should tell them when they can expect to receive it. 

7. Communication when they use the call button. When patients must wait a long time to get a response from clinicians, it can add to their stress. A prompt response shows respect for patients' needs. 

8. Communication in layman's terms. Medical terminology can sound like a foreign language to patients. Clinicians should take care to speak in terms that are easy to understand. 

9. Communication both verbal and nonverbal. Actions and words show patients that hospital staff aims for a high standard of care. Staff social chatter, banter and unprofessional behavior can add to patients' stress.

10. Communication that is patient and complete. Clinicians should ask patients if they have any questions after giving them medical information.

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1. Communication in a caring and empathetic manner. Clinicians should try to walk in patients' shoes, even in a brief conversation, to better understand their needs.

2. Communication about their comfort. ED patients want to stay as comfortable as possible while waiting for care. Clinicians should offer them blankets, nourishment if allowed, and an ear to hear their concerns.

3. Communication about their results. Patients often are eager to learn their lab tests and procedure results, as well as their medical status and admission/discharge expectations. Clinicians can reassure patients by keeping them fully updated or even by telling them the results are still in review.

4. Communication about about medication. Hospital staff should be clear about what medication ED patients will receive, as well as when to expect it, how much, how often and possible side effects.

5. Communication about next steps and delays. Clinicians should be aware that time passes slowly for ED patients waiting for updates and tests results and regularly inform them of any changes.

6. Communication about nourishment. If clinicians offer patients nourishment, they should tell them when they can expect to receive it.

7. Communication when they use the call button. When patients must wait a long time to get a response from clinicians, it can add to their stress. A prompt response shows respect for patients' needs.

8. Communication in layman's terms. Medical terminology can sound like a foreign language to patients. Clinicians should take care to speak in terms that are easy to understand.

9. Communication both verbaland nonverbal. Actions and words show patients that hospital staff aims for a high standard of care. Staff social chatter, banter and unprofessional behavior can add to patients' stress.

10. Communication that is patient and complete. Clinicians should ask patients if they have any questions after giving them medical information.

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