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Posted: September 6th, 2023

Resolving a Complex Patient Complaint

Resolving a Complex Patient Complaint

Imagine the following scenario: A 45-year-old man is admitted through the emergency department and taken to the operating room before being admitted for 1 night in the intensive care unit and then transferred to the medical-surgical unit. On day 4 of his hospitalization, the patient and his spouse have become very frustrated and have the following concerns.

They do not understand the patient’s diagnosis and treatment plan or when he will be discharged.
The food has been cold every meal and often the meal trays that come do not align with the diet order from the physician.
The patient is wakened through the night for different tests, and the patient says he feels like a pincushion.
The patient’s wallet is missing.
The patient advocate is now involved and is coordinating an investigation into these issues in order to formulate a formal response to the patient and his spouse. Imagine you are the patient advocate. Which departments and health care roles are you going to speak to, and why? What questions would you ask them, or what information do you believe is relevant to bring back to the patient and his spouse? What is your plan to monitor the rest of the patient’s hospital stay to ensure he is more satisfied with his care? Which disciplines would you ask to help monitor the remainder of his stay?

Your answer should be at least 500 words in length..

______________________–
As the patient advocate, my first step would be to meet with the patient and his spouse to gather more information about their concerns and to assure them that their complaints will be addressed promptly. I would document their concerns and explain the investigation process to them, including the timeframe for when they can expect a response.

Next, I would start by contacting the hospital’s nursing and medical staff to understand the patient’s diagnosis and treatment plan. I would ask for a detailed report on the patient’s current condition, the reason for his admission, the planned treatment, and the estimated length of stay. I would also inquire about any complications that have occurred and any changes in the patient’s condition that may affect his discharge plan.

Additionally, I would speak to the hospital’s dietary staff to address the issue of cold food and meal tray discrepancies. I would ask for an explanation of the process for preparing and delivering meals and inquire about any potential reasons for the discrepancies. I would also ask about the hospital’s policy for accommodating patient dietary requirements and ensuring that meal trays are consistent with physician orders.

To address the patient’s concerns about frequent nighttime testing, I would speak to the hospital’s laboratory staff and diagnostic imaging departments. I would ask for an explanation of the frequency and necessity of the tests, the process for scheduling them, and any measures that can be taken to minimize nighttime disruptions.

Regarding the missing wallet, I would immediately report the incident to hospital security and the patient’s care team to initiate an investigation. I would inquire about the hospital’s policies and procedures for lost or stolen items and what steps are being taken to recover the wallet and its contents.

After gathering all relevant information and investigating the patient’s complaints, I would provide a formal response to the patient and his spouse. I would explain the results of the investigation, what actions were taken to address their concerns, and any changes that have been made to improve their experience.

To monitor the remainder of the patient’s hospital stay, I would involve several healthcare disciplines. I would engage the patient’s care team, including nurses, physicians, and therapists, to ensure that the patient’s treatment plan is being followed and any concerns are addressed promptly. I would also enlist the help of the hospital’s patient experience team to regularly check in with the patient and his spouse to ensure that their needs are being met and to address any further concerns.

In conclusion, addressing patient complaints requires a coordinated effort from multiple healthcare departments and roles. As the patient advocate, it is important to gather all relevant information, investigate the complaints thoroughly, and provide a prompt and transparent response to the patient and their loved ones. By involving various healthcare disciplines and monitoring the patient’s hospital stay, we can ensure that the patient receives the highest quality of care and has a more satisfactory hospital experience.

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