Rounding Up

Rounding has become a buzzword in hospitals in efforts to focus on patient experience, but most non-health care people know what it means. (rounding numbers? killing weeds? corralling sheep?)

Rounding is "making rounds" to patient rooms to ensure that their needs are being met proactively. Resistance to rounding is that it's one more thing to do. People who work in hospitals are BUSY. But, the research on rounding is that it saves time because patient anxiety and dissatisfaction decrease.  Here's a study from Stanford on nurse rounding.

It's struck me, in my reading, that a patient in a hospital bed can't really think about anything else. They are afraid and full of anxiety because (especially these days) if you are in the hospital, it must be serious. When no one comes to see them, they think they've been forgotten about or that their must be terrible news that no one wants to tell them. 

So, having someone check in, to see if you need help going to the bathroom, to get something from your bag or to help you adjust your bed, can help you be more comfortable and reduce some of that anxiety. See the Four Ps: Potty, Pain, Position and Possessions.  

Personally, after the birth of one of my children, nurses took the baby (and my husband) to the nursery for tests and I was left alone for quite awhile. It felt like about two hours, but I couldn't tell you how long it actually was. I was desperately cold and really wanted some socks or slippers to warm up my feet. But I didn't want to bother a nurse to come help me put my slippers on. So I waited, miserably, until my husband returned. My frustration and anxiety levels were very high -- and this could have been avoided with better understanding of when someone would be by to check on me. 

Rounding experts (like the ones on the Association of Patient Experience webinar right now) say that it's critical to frame this practice as "not just another thing to do." It's important to make it about quality and safety.  Rounding is a practice that is practical and proactive -- Let's add those Ps as well.