The Role That Streamlined Medical Stations Play In Minimising Patient Stress
Those who dedicate their lives to careers in medical care do so out of an inherent, deep concern for the wellbeing of their patients; working long hours in desperately stressful environments to ensure that the patients they tend are able to go home to their families with a smile and a long life ahead of them, at the end of the treatment period.
The trouble is that, regardless of whether or not medical care is done by the book and even with dazzling prowess and insight, the day to day and long term wellbeing of the patient is about a lot more than getting the technical aspects of treatment spot on….a personal touch is vital to eliminating the danger of hospital stress and depression in critical patients.
Those of us who’ve been, or connected emotionally with, someone on the receiving end of medical care (especially the critical kind) should understand that, for the patient, the crippling symptoms of stress can well up alongside their diagnosis, not only as a result of the obvious impact critical illness can have on one’s life but also as a result of the helplessness of having one’s life in the hands of strangers.
The patient, who may not have a technical grasp of the nature of and plan of attack for his or her own condition, desires little more than the ability to make eye contact with a medical professional who is free, willing and able to take the time to make them feel like they are in safe hands and that they, themselves, understand how best to proceed.
The fact of the matter is that hospitalization stress has the potential to seriously hinder patient recovery by giving rise to life-threatening psychological and behavioral changes, making it essential for modern medical facilities to adopt a more streamlined mode of operation that is 100% patient-satisfaction focused.
The foremost causes of hospital stress in patients:
Amongst the leading causes of elevated stress levels in patients are the following:
- The fear of incurable disease
- Pain and the fear or anticipation thereof
- Anticipation of surgery
- Failure to grasp and be sure of instructions issued
- Ignorance of test results
- Lack of thorough briefing
- Unanswered questions
- Lack of devoted nurse attention, one-on-one
- Feeling like a burden to obviously the stressed staff
- Test procedures and perceived ‘invasive’ examination
Cost constraints, a continuous decline in the availability of skilled nursing staff and a concentration of critically ill patients that is steadily on the rise combine to create clinical environments that have the potential to dramatically elevate patient stress and depression levels, especially in facilities which haven’t adopted flexible, mobile alternatives to the paper and leg-work heavy, static-station methods of old.
To make matters worse, the more complex and severe the patient diagnosis, the more extensive the administrative tasks that need doing, cutting away at valuable one-on-one patient care time, which may otherwise serve to alleviate patient stress.
It follows that the more acute the physical ailment, the more acute the risk of developing psychological ailments to boot…and a vicious cycle is begun.
It’s clear that at least nine out of ten of the aforementioned causes of stress could be seriously alleviated, if not completely eliminated, through the streamlining of nursing activities and medical stations, affording the patient more of the one-on-one time they desire and deserve.
One-on-one time should account for the overriding majority of each patent visit and a good fraction of each patient stay.
One-on-one time should be prolonged enough to bring the patient a certain peace of mind, by allowing opportunities for the voicing of concerns; more thorough explanations of the diagnosis at hand and for instilling the sense of being safe and in good hands.
Yet statistics indicate that as much as 57% of nurses’ time is spent on necessary administrative tasks, which are often done out of sight of the patient, at a static nursing station…leaving the patient alone to ponder their doubts.
What’s more, undertaking tasks at a static medical station, which may be well removed from the point of contact with the patient, demands footwork, hard graft and a near super-human level of multi-tasking from nursing staff, leading to stress and burnout which is almost always picked up on by patients, as bedside nurses’ manner is invariably impaired.
It becomes clear when one examines and compares the perception of stress factors by nurses and patients alike, as was done in this study, that maintaining a close proximity to patients by performing more automated administrative tasks at a Mobile Medical Station will, at the very least, eliminate the sense, in patients, that they didn’t get the opportunity to fully comprehend their diagnosis or be adequately tended to.
That’s because, at mobile workstations, nurses become visible and available, while administration becomes transparent, instilling trust.
It also becomes clear that stress experienced by care staff translates unequivocally into stress experienced by the patient, a factor detrimental to optimal recovery time and capable of creating a vicious cycle of stress in the facility at large.
Mobile Medical Stations create a flexible environment, exponentially increasing one-on-one patient care time and allowing the transparency, proximity and opportunity that studies find necessary to eliminating many leading stressors in patients.
The mobilisation of administrative task centres revolutionises the patient experience, as nurses and practitioners are now able to capture and retrieve data and tools in real time, all while remaining, essentially, face-to-face with the patient, who is now free to ask what they will and express what they will, instead of being left alone ‘in the dark.’
Furthermore, this real-time data processing, combined with mobile medical stations that allow the workspace to be transformed and reconfigured as need dictates, serves to dramatically lower stress and depression levels in nurses, who no longer have miles to walk each day, on top of mountains of repetitive admin tasks preceding and following every hurried interaction with a patient.
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