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Hospital Providers Come to Patient Advocates’ Defense
Last week I had the opportunity to speak to two groups of hospital quality personnel; those folks who work in hospitals who are charged with overseeing the safety of their patients. They are QIOS, that is, Quality Improvement Officers – and their jobs depend on making sure that their body of patients this year are safer than their body of patients were last year, that next year’s patients are safer than this year’s, and so forth. My overall message was “let patient’s help”- the idea that no one cares as much about a patient’s good outcomes than the patient and the patient’s families and loved ones. Therefore, by intentionally including them in care tasks and decisions while they are hospitalized, their outcomes may be better: fewer falls, fewer pressure ulcers, fewer central line infections, etc. We looked at why this could be important, and how to embrace this kind of help from patients and caregivers… plus I included several slides that suggested that they embrace the presence of private patient advocates. That such advocates are another professional set of eyes and ears that can be devoted to the patient. That devotion means the patient will have less chance of suffering “sentinel events” or “serious reportable events” (also called “never events” – meaning, hospital errors) – which in turn makes the hospital look good. It’s win win – so why could any hospital object? I went on to tell about some of the stories you all have shared with me – an advocate who is being charged $500 a year to be able to work within the hospital, an advocate who was required to register as a vendor (tedious, nonsensical paperwork), advocates met with anger, advocates who are simply told to leave, and others…. And I again said, “Hey – when the patient has paid someone to be there, then it’s win win – standing between an advocate and her patient doesn’t make any sense!” At the end of the program, during Q&A, one of the QIOs stood up, mike in hand, and told the group, “I’ll tell you why we don’t…