Tuesday 25 April 2017

Being under treatment at any time can be a difficult, stressful and depressing experience for a patient. No one likes to feel ill, to undergo surgery or to need medication. These situations take on even more of a burden when they happen during the holiday season. Whether you’re working in an inpatient setting, an outpatient clinic or in home care, as a nurse showing extra kindness during this time of year can mean all the difference for a patient regardless of his or her age.

show kindness to patients

Many nurses have written about how they try to convey kindheartedness to their patients and clients. In nursing homes, residents often feel overlooked and forgotten. Offering simple things to the residents, such as gloves, socks or a handmade card can mean a lot. Simple things like wearing your best smile, making simple decorations at the nurse’s station and in the hallways and spending more time talking with your patients help uplift their spirits during this time of year.

Also important is to remember that not all individuals celebrate the same holiday. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are all celebrated in December. Therefore, your holiday efforts have to include the many different religions of your patients so that no patient feels offended, discriminated against or overlooked because of his or her religious beliefs.Likewise, it may be that some patients do not acknowledge a religion or celebrate any of the holidays. If that is the case, these individuals should know they are welcome to participate or skip the celebration.

“Nurses, one of the few blessings of being ill.” Being generous, friendly and warmhearted are characteristics nurses display on a regular basis. However, during this time of the year, extra effort is needed to ensure your patients and clients experience your caring side on an even higher level.

Those of us who work in the health care profession and study medicine have long believed in the value of a kind, compassionate bedside manner. But now, this belief isn’t just a nice notion - it’s sound science. Reviews shows that when patients are treated with kindness - when there is an effort made to get to know them, empathize with them, communicate with them, listen to them and respond to their needs — it can lead to the following outcomes:

➨ faster healing of wounds,
➨ reduced pain,
➨ reduced anxiety,
➨ reduced blood pressure,
➨ and shorter hospital stays.

The research also shows that when doctors and nurses act compassionately, patients are more likely to be forthcoming in divulging medical information, which in turn leads to more accurate diagnoses. They are more likely to adhere to their prescribed treatments, which leads to fewer readmissions.

The review also found that patients aren’t the only ones who see better results from kind treatment — the doctors, nurses, and caregivers who provide the kind treatment benefit as well. A kinder work environment helps employees feel more engaged and less exhausted, which is incredibly important to caregivers who often work long and unpredictable hours in high-pressure jobs.

In the weeks and months ahead, we plan to build on this research, and translate the findings into practices and guidelines health care providers, doctors, nurses, and other caregivers can follow during their interactions with patients.

So often, the debate about health care in America has focused on how to cut costs without restricting people’s access or reducing the quality of their care. Well, institutionalizing kinder practices in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and care facilities across the nation is a virtually free way of improving quality and generating better outcomes that can lead to even lower costs. It’s a no-brainer.

At the very least, research review proves that in the context of health care and medicine, kindness shouldn’t be viewed as a warm and fuzzy afterthought, something nice to show after the “real” medicine is administered.


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