1. Raso, Rosanne RN, CNAA, MS

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Q Our Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores for nursing communication have been very disappointing. What have some organizations done to improve these scores?


It's intentional work to truly demonstrate caring for patients, not just a matter of smiling or superficial niceties. Each and every interaction counts between staff and patients and their families. A combination of hospital-wide, nursing department, and unit-based strategies will work, but it takes time, commitment, energy, ongoing coaching, and follow-up to make the change to a service culture. You want to be proactive, not reactive. Staff engagement and participation in your patient experience initiatives are critical.


Are your staff members making frequent and regular rounds with patient interaction? This has been shown to decrease call bells and improve patient satisfaction.1,2 Are you saying some version of the following statement to patients when they're discharged? "It's important that you can take care of yourself when you go home. Let's go over what you need to know and see if you have any questions." Is the nurse manager or a unit leader making rounds daily on patients to ask how they're doing? Is the primary care staff asking patients what they need and listening to the answers? Are data shared with staff regularly and in a timely manner? Is staffing adequate? Are patient and staff satisfaction valued in your organization? Do you hire staff members who mirror your patient-centric values? Do staff run away from patient or family complaints rather than address them or find someone who can?


These are just some of the factors that can contribute to your HCAHPS scores. Involve your staff in deciding what changes to make; they always have the best ideas!!

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1. Bourgault AM, King MM, Hart P, et al. Circle of excellence. Nurs Manag. 2008;39(11):18-24. [Context Link]


2. Meade CM, Bursell AL, Ketelsen L. Effects of nursing rounds: on patients' call light use, satisfaction, and safety. Am J Nurs. 2006;106(9):58-70. [Context Link]