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A Great Patient Experience: Celebrating the Last Day of Treatment

December 17, 2015

positive-patient-experienceWhen I was teaching therapists, I’d always give them some version of this short speech:

“Every day you will drive to the hospital and park in the employees’ lot. You’ll go into your place of work and do your job. You’ll have tasks to complete, patients to see, paperwork to do and meetings to attend. You attend to the business that takes place in a hospital, and get a paycheck and benefits.

But, don’t ever forget that where you work, there are people going through the most challenging times of their lives. You are eating lunch next to someone who may be losing a family member that day. The work you do to improve someone’s ability to walk means the world to that patient, or their son or daughter. You are surrounded by people in their most vulnerable state and even the seemingly small things you do, make a real difference. That’s special. Don’t lose sight of that.”

I recently read an article on Today.com that reminded me of that concept. Here's an excerpt:

For the last day of Sophia Petikas's proton therapy to treat tumors on her spine, the staff at a Louisiana hospital decided to send her off in a way they knew she would appreciate: doing the "Nae Nae" dance.

When Petikas, 12, was in the midst of her treatments, Daniel Speir, a nurse at Willis-Knighton Cancer Center in Shreveport, told her he would learn the dance so he could perform it with her on her last day. Little did she know that a whole group of other staff members of the Proton Therapy Center was also working on their moves to Silento's summer hit "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" to give her a day she wouldn't forget.

They all surprised her with a choreographed flash-mob performance at the hospital as she beamed in surprise and danced along. The video has been viewed more than half a million times in a week.

"She was just overwhelmed and really surprised, and it was overwhelming for me and my husband,'' Sophia's mother, Julia Petikas, told TODAY.com. "We're happy that they did it for her and it's making so many other people feel good."

The staff in this video care about patients and go out of their way to make them know it. They are with them through their challenges and celebrate their small victories. Patient-centered care isn’t about writing your name on a white board, or executive rounding or scripting. It’s about thinking about what a patient needs, physically and emotionally, at every point in their care and going the extra mile to support them on their journey.

Obviously, a fun, choreographed dance routine isn’t right for every day and every situation, but I’m betting that this staff makes the patient their focus every day in thousands of smaller ways that are just as appreciated and don’t make it to YouTube.

The members of our Healthcare Consulting Team realize that they have a role in helping you to build a team with this sort of focus. It makes them proud to know that, even indirectly, they are helping our healthcare clients to make a difference in people’s lives. Individual behaviors make a real difference.

Bryan Warren Bryan Warren was the former Director of Healthcare Solutions at PSI. He was responsible for developing and promoting tools and services designed specifically for the unique challenges faced by healthcare organizations.