TCU Nabs Honor

ST. MARYS — Grand Lake Health System’s Transitional Care Unit (TCU) at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital was recently named in the top four in the state in resident satisfaction.

The TCU earned a 97.58 score in the Ohio Department of Aging’s 2011 Resident Satisfaction Survey of Ohio Nursing Homes, placing it in the top four of the 957 nursing homes in the state and above the state average of 92.3. The face-to-face survey was conducted by the Ohio Department of Aging and focused on patient choice, patient rights and overall satisfaction. TCU Manager Sara Busacca said the rating is a testament to the unit’s focus on its patients.

“We were just really pleased that we rated fourth in the state of Ohio for the patient satisfaction survey,” she said. “That fourth place, I think, was just a testimony to our organization and the staff’s commitment to our philosophy of person first, patient second.”

The TCU, she noted, has implemented several initiatives that focus on its person first, patient second philosophy. Hourly rounding, Busacca said, keeps the patient and aide in constant communication.

“On admission, the patient is informed that our nursing services will provide hourly rounding, so the patient is checked more often and engaged in more conversation with staff about what needs they have, assuring that we are doing what we need to do for the patient, identifying more opportunities to make the patient more comfortable while they’re here,” she said.

Busacca noted several benefits to hourly rounding.

“The benefits of that hourly rounding are not only for that patient satisfaction, but it also increases patient safety, it increases the communication, it makes the patient aware that they are a very important part of our team and that we are including them,” Busacca said. “That person-first philosophy is initiated with that.”

Improved handover communication, she said, is another initiative that the TCU has focused on.

“At the change of shift, the nurse aide now goes into the room, lets the patient know that they’re leaving and introduces them to the oncoming aide, and we call that handover communication,” she said. “It really provides opportunity for that aide leaving to find out if there’s anything else she can do before she leaves. It starts to build a relationship already with that nurse aide that’s coming on because there’s that introduction.”

Education and communication in preparation for a patient to return home, Busacca said, has also been improved.

“Another initiative that is really ramping up is our education and our communication with the patient to get them ready to go home,” she said. “That’s our goal here — that transition from acute care, to us, to home.”

The health care team, she said, focuses on the patient.

“There’s a whole team of people working to help a patient get home, but our focus is that the patient is the most important part of that team,” she said. “Including what fears the patient has and how can we help them feel comfortable, feel safe and reach their goals.”

Busacca noted actively listening to the patient is key.

“We have to actively listen to that patient,” Busacca said. “I think that’s important that we actively listen to what their fears are because what we see sometimes as a barrier to discharge is totally different from what that patient may feel as their barrier. We need to help them overcome that.”

Manager rounds have also been implemented, Busacca said.

“At least once a week, I am stopping in and talking to every patient because I want to hear how we’re doing,” she said, noting that she asks the patients what to do to make their stay better. “It’s that active listening and asking the right questions.”

The high ranking, she noted, would not be possible without the help of other departments at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital.

“Every aspect of the Transitional Care Unit patient satisfaction requires other departments to go above and beyond, and they certainly do here, it’s just wonderful,” she said. “It’s not just about that bedside care, it’s about the overall stay and comfort.”

To continue its high patient satisfaction, Busacca said the TCU will continue to evaluate itself in search of things to do better.

“I think the goal in the Transitional Care Unit, and in our organization, is to exceed our customer’s expectations,” she said. “In doing so, I think we need to continue to always reevaluate, always look for ways that we can improve our service. We’re going to continue what we’re doing, and we’re going to continue to ask the right questions to our customers.”