Personal Connections Improve Patient Experience

As in any hospital, a wall in each inpatient room at White Rock Medical Center features a communications board. The whiteboard, as staff usually call it, helps patients and families know their care team’s names and other key information about the plan of care.

But something new adorns the wall in the patient rooms of the ICU at White Rock. A large card that includes personal information about the patient – a picture, favorite TV show, favorite foods and hobbies, among others.

The unit is piloting a new program that allows patients, their family members and the care team to get to know each other better.

“I’ve seen this concept in action, and it really works. The boards share fun details about the patient’s life and preferences. In turn, it fosters engaging and personal conversations and connection between the patient, caregiver and family,” explained Inna Makievsky, interim CEO at White Rock.

“This kind of personal information, such as pets and favorite movies, helps connect us to each other. Once we connect on a personal level, we inherently provide more personal service and care. It’s human nature,” she added.

For frontline caregivers, the boards are meant to make sparking that connection easier without taking away from their ability to deliver care, explained Kelli Hohenstein, RN, chief nursing officer at White Rock.

“Personal service yields happy patients. It can promote healing, and it impacts their overall experience here. Happy patients and family tell others about the nurturing and caring staff at White Rock,” she said. “This is a small action, but it can improve our patients’ experience.”

In an ICU room, as a new patient was recently settling in, the family embraced the concept. The patient, her daughter and ICU Director IJ Odueze had a lively discussion while filling out the board, laughing about TV shows, food and fun activities to do in their free time.

The result is personal touch that honors the patient and family as well.