Lounge chairs improving patient comfort
Feedback from a Patient Feedback Forum spurred the change
After 27 years working as a nurse, retiree Carole Rogers recently saw KGH through a fresh set of eyes. This time she was a patient.
“I fell ill and needed to visit the Emergency Department,” says Rogers. “Unfortunately I had to be admitted to the hospital, but a bed in an inpatient unit wasn’t available. I had to stay in the Emergency Department for quite some time waiting for a bed to become available.”
During that time she waited in one of the typical beds that are used in the ED. Not quite as elaborate as the beds in the hospital’s inpatient units, the beds in Emergency are only designed to be a shortterm place for a patient.
“I was quite uncomfortable but thankfully there was a lounge chair available for me to use that was much better,” says Rogers.
The lounge chair was one of two on loan to the ED from other areas of the hospital as part of a pilot project. Rogers then followed up her stay in the hospital with a letter, which later turned into a presentation at one of our Patient and Family Feedback Forums. These forums are an opportunity for a patient to come back and talk to their care team about their experience at KGH.
“I wanted to thank the staff for the quality care they provided and also suggest that KGH should have more lounge chairs in the Emergency Department to help keep patients like me comfortable” says Rogers.
Her idea was taken to heart by the staff that met with Rogers in the feedback forum. KGH soon added the chairs to the capital request list and thanks to some funding through the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation (UHKF) we soon purchased four more of them for the ED.
“There is lots of information out there that lounge chairs like these are beneficial for patients, but now we had confirmation from a patient in our own hospital that it did indeed improve her experience,” says Jackie Donaldson, Program Manager of the Emergency Department. “We don’t always need to purchase an advanced piece of technology to improve care, sometimes we can do it by adding something as simple as a lounge chair.”
Research shows that when patients are in a bed they begin to think of themselves as being sick. Elderly patients can also become disoriented from lying in bed too long. The chairs allow patients to sit up and interact with their care teams, feel like they are more active partners in their care and at the same time potentially decrease their chance of suffering a fall.
“It may seem simple, but these chairs can help improve patient care. They also work quite well for the teams of professionals that provide care in the Emergency Department,” says Donaldson.
Because they almost fully recline health care teams are able to do a test like an electrocardiogram or take blood without the patient ever having to transfer to a bed. The chairs also have another added use in the department. They help free up beds that are needed for those patients that are critically sick, which improves the flow of patients through the ED.
“When the lounge chairs are not being used in a case like Mrs. Rogers, they can be used for a patient who may, for example, be dehydrated and just needs to receive fluid through an IV,” says Donaldson. “This allows the bed to be used by more seriously ill patient, meaning both patients can be treated at the same time.”
As for Rogers, she says she is happy that by sharing her experience and her opinion she contributed to a change in the hospital.
“Patient comfort is very important because as a former nurse I know it is difficult for caregivers to deliver care if a patient is uncomfortable. This is really a combination of improving the comfort for patients and allowing staff to easily deliver care.”
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