Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

From Makeovers to Spa Days, Hospitals Are Adding Services to Bolster Patient Care

Published in the American Hospital Association’s October 2010 Hospitals & Health Networks

By Whitney L.J. Howell

Programs enhance patient satisfaction

Patients expect medical treatment and counseling services from a hospital. But wig shops and art classes? These and other services are relatively new phenomena taking hold in health care facilities nationwide.

According to the Institute for Patient-and Family-Centered Care, there’s a growing trend to provide concierge and wellness services to patients at no additional cost. Some hospitals have boutiques and makeovers. Others offer artistic outlets. The additional services enhance patient satisfaction as well as make it easier for providers to deliver care, according to some hospital officials.

“Some of our patients won’t go elsewhere for care because of our support services,” says Heather Kapp, patient and community services director at Washington (D.C.) Cancer Institute. “Our patients ask for these services—they really expect them now.”

WCI established its Images Program to help women who have lost hair or sustained skin damage during cancer treatment restore their self-confidence through a rejuvenated outward appearance, Kapp says. Through a partnership with Innovative Skincare, a manufacturer based in Glendale, Calif., WCI gives patients products that minimize aging signs and instructs them on proper usage. Every October, Innovative Skincare staff conducts a free spa day for cancer patients, including massage therapy and facials. A similar program has been expanded to the UCLA Health System Revlon Breast Center.

In-hospital support services also reduce the energy patients expend to find the additional help they need, says Donna Handley, vice president of the cancer program at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut. The Boutique at Hartford’s Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center, staffed mainly by cancer survivors, offers professional prosthetic and bra fittings on site.

“Many of our patients often have chemotherapy and radiation treatment on the same day, so they’re weak and exhausted,” Handley says. “The Boutique is our commitment to anticipating our patients’ needs and providing them with one more service they won’t need to find elsewhere.”

Inpatients can benefit from augmented support services as well. The Healing Arts Program at Lifespan collaborates with the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum of Art to hold art classes for patients. Artists visit patients with museum reproductions, offering to help patients create artworks inspired by the pieces.

“Being in the hospital can be stressful for children and adults,” says Paula Most, arts coordinator at the five-hospital system. “Art isn’t a panacea, but it does aid medical professionals in delivering care. Patients who aren’t as anxious are more receptive to medical treatment.”

To read the article online: http://www.hhnmag.com/hhnmag_app/jsp/articledisplay.jsp?dcrpath=HHNMAG/Article/data/10OCT2010/1010HHN_Inbox_patientcare&domain=HHNMAG

 

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October 13, 2010 - Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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