Patient comfort is becoming a higher priority for hospitals, and the reasons are three-fold: It boosts patient satisfaction, improves outcomes and is the right thing to do.
At the University of Kansas Hospital, for example, nursing staff spend time with patients prior to their stay to discuss measures that will help them feel more comfortable, such as bringing fuzzy socks from home and arranging to get a fan in the room. These touches in some cases help make up for less-pleasant parts of hospitalization that can't be avoided for medical reasons, according to an article from Fox News.
Patients take notice of the effort, which benefits the hospital in several ways, including higher patient satisfaction scores that can translate to more revenue.
"We benefit from increased volumes, increased loyalty, more referrals, all of those things that truly do impact the bottom line at the end of the day. But I will tell you when we started, that isn't why we did it," said Terry Rusconi, vice president of performance improvement at University of Kanass Hospital.
In addition, an emphasis on patient comfort and quality of life can improve patients' ability to tolerate medical treatments and help them feel more empowered in their care, Lauren Swinney, R.N., director of medical surgical, ambulatory care, palliative care and spiritual care at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, told The Union.
Thus, the hospital's Palliative Care Team strives to ensure patients aren't unduly suffering from symptoms such as pain, nausea, fatigue, constipation, shortness of breath, insomnia or depression.
Patients may receive palliative care on a short- or long-term basis, she added, whether they seek curative treatment or hospice care at the end of life. "Palliative care benefits both patients and their families," she said. "Yes, we focus on symptom management, but also on providing communication and support for the family."
Research supports the use of palliative care to improve patient outcomes, FierceHealthcare has reported, as well as to lower costs and increase patient happiness.