The Results are In: Patient Compliments Outweigh Complaints

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: “The compliments from patients and families made me feel good about myself and grateful for the things I do and get in life,” says Radiation Therapy Assistant, Marcella Benincasa, who received four patient compliments in 2011-2012
: “The compliments from patients and families made me feel good about myself and grateful for the things I do and get in life,” says Radiation Therapy Assistant, Marcella Benincasa, who received four patient compliments in 2011-2012
: “The compliments from patients and families made me feel good about myself and grateful for the things I do and get in life,” says Radiation Therapy Assistant, Marcella Benincasa, who received four patient compliments in 2011-2012
: “The compliments from patients and families made me feel good about myself and grateful for the things I do and get in life,” says Radiation Therapy Assistant, Marcella Benincasa, who received four patient compliments in 2011-2012

THUNDER BAY – With 109,165 visits in 2011-2012 and 103,374 visits the previous year, residents of the North West use the Emergency Department more than residents anywhere else in the province.

Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre’s ER is one of the highest performers in Ontario for wait times related to non-admitted lengths of stay and physician initial assessment. But that can be small consolation to anyone who has to come to the ER or bring a loved one.

“The hospital can be a very frustrating place to be, whether you are a patient or a staff member,” says ER Clerk, Rosemary Langevin.

“There are many people in the health care system that feel overwhelmed,” says Langevin.

So it may come as a surprise to learn that many employees in the ER received several formal compliments from patients in 2011-2012.

In fact, overall TBRHSC patients’ compliments have outnumbered complaints since 2007.

Patients’ comments, compliments and complaints are collected in a variety of ways: through patient satisfaction surveys, patient comment cards, thank you cards and comments published in the newspaper, as well as comments submitted through the TBRHSC website.

“We are always looking for feedback,” says Cathy Covino, Senior Director of Quality and Risk Management.  “We want to know how we are doing in every part of the organization. We are reaching out more than ever to get feedback so that we can focus our improvement on what matters to our patients and their families.  Our satisfaction scores have increased significantly and I think this is part of the reason why.”

Since adopting the Patient and Family Centred Care model, including volunteer Patient and Family Advisors in planning, policy development, strategy, and care, and taking patient feedback into account in the Quality Improvement Plan, the Health Sciences Centre has seen patient and staff satisfaction increase dramatically.

Some of the hospital’s initiatives that were the direct result of patient feedback: the expansion of parking spaces and the establishment of a working group to create a plan that will reduce smoking on the hospital grounds. Also, based on patient feedback, TBRHSC has made reducing wait times in the Emergency Department one of its key priorities in its Quality Improvement Plan.

Anyone who submits a complaint or compliment and includes their contact information will receive a letter thanking them for helping us improve from the Quality and Risk Management Department. The concern is then forwarded to the manager of the appropriate department.  A Lead is assigned to investigate, resolve and respond to the concern.

“In most situations the experts in the area are able to respond to the concerns identified. Some situations may require the Chief of Staff and I to meet with the individual and/or their family to discuss a particular complaint,” says Covino.

A patient compliment is forwarded directly to the employee, along with a congratulatory letter from TBRHSC President and CEO, Andrée Robichaud.

“A compliment may inspire someone to improve their work performance,” says Langevin, who was the recipient of a formal patient compliment last year.

Expressed concerns from the public are viewed as opportunities for improvement and collaboration with patients and families.

If you wish to make a written complaint or compliment about anything that has happened to you while a patient of TBRHSC, you can place it in one of the suggestion boxes located throughout the hospital.

You may also submit your comments using the Feedback Form on the ‘Comments/Feedback’ page of the TBRHSC website (www.tbrhsc.net) or complete one of the comment forms, also on that page, and forward it to the Department of Quality & Risk Management.

Donna Faye

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