CAHPS Education: Dignity and Respect
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The first topic in our CAHPS education series is: Dignity & Respect
While you were in hospice care, how often did the hospice team treat your family member with dignity and respect?
The options to answer this question are:
The answer you want, not only for scoring but because patients deserve to be treated with respect & dignity, is ALWAYS!!
5 Tips to Improve:
- Address patients and families respectfully each time you see them.
- Always address patients and families using proper names such as “Miss Smith” or “Mr. Jones” unless and until you are asked to address them as something else.
- Avoid using “pet names” to speak to patients and families such as “honey”, “sweetie”, and the like.
- Phone interactions are important. Take the time to hear patients and families when they call to express concerns or questions.
- Follow up. Don’t wait for the next visit or phone call to respond to a question or concern.
- Be respectful of the patient’s and caregiver’s time and energy.
- Call to confirm your scheduled visit either the night before or the morning of the visit.
- If you are going to be late, call and let them know and offer a new arrival time window.
- The focus of hospice visits is always the PATIENTS and FAMILIES. Focus all discussion and attention on them, their needs, and how to be be helpful to them. Keep personal information about yourself out of the conversation.
- Having experienced a similar situation doesn’t mean you know what patients and families are experiencing.
- Their experience with end of life is unique to them. Be active in THEIR process.
- Avoid sharing your personal losses, or losses of other patients, as a way to connect with them during this time.
- Remember that each death is a unique circumstance. Patients and families should feel that your are mindful and respectful of their situation.
- Do what you say. Say what you’ll do.
- Our words and actions are given significant weight during this critical time in patient’s and family’s lives. It is important to mean what you say and say what you mean.
- There is never anything wrong with answering a question with: “ I don’t know the answer to that questions but I will find out and get back to you”. And then follow up!
- Tell the truth. Patient’s and family’s put their trust in you and your organization. That trust is damaged when they feel dishonesty. Explain your services, what you can do, and what you cannot do, plainly and clearly to avoid incorrect expectations.
- Make sure you understand patient and family requests clearly so you can deliver what they need, when they need it. Often the need is presumed rather than actively listening. Being heard is one of the most comforting things you can offer patients and families during this time.
- Inform patients and families of what you plan to do prior to starting any task.
- Even if your patient has dementia, inform them of your upcoming task before you start. For example, “Mrs. Jones, I am going to check your blood pressure now” or “Mr. Smith, I’m going to cover you with a blanket”. This style of interaction is not only soothing to the patient but it can also keep them from becoming agitated or frightened when they aren’t sure what is happening to them.
- If you are seeing an alert and oriented patient and their family member is in the room, privately ask the patient if it is OK if the family member is present during personal care. This allows for the patient to control the level of privacy they feel comfortable with.
These are a few small steps to keep in mind to ensure that patients, families, and caregivers are treated with dignity and respect which will improve responses to this survey question.
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