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What can I do to enhance patient satisfaction scores?

Patient satisfaction is an element of the Hospital Consumer Assessment Health Plans Survey (HCAHPS). Your facility’s HCAHPS survey scores directly impact whether or not your facility will receive 1-2% of its Medicare reimbursements each year.  Top performing institutions are eligible for a financial bonus for providing high quality care.

A recent study examining average patient responses to HCAHPS survey questions showed the following[1]:

  • One in every four patients will say that nursing did a poor job communicating important matters regarding their care to them
  • One in every three patients will say they would not recommend your hospital
  • One in every three patients will not give your hospital a passing grade

One way to improve satisfaction while supplementing your Infection Prevention program is to provide easily accessible hand hygiene products. It is important for each patient to practice hand hygiene in order to stay healthy. This is especially true for non-ambulatory patients who may not have easy access to  hand hygiene on his or her own.

Some ways in which you can potentially increase patient satisfaction through hand hygiene are the following:

1. Provide each patient and visitor with easy to access hand hygiene at the bedside.

  • Make sure each patient receives an alcohol-based hand hygiene product upon admittance
    • When an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer was added to a facility’s infection prevention program:
      • 94% of patients reported cleaning their hands more often
      • 100% of patients felt their hands were cleaner[2]

2. Communicate with patients:

  • Let the patient know that you are providing hand hygiene because you care about their health and the health of others.
    • Establish a dialogue that lets the patient know you are doing something in interest of their good health that is beyond their current condition.
  • Educate the patient on the key moments to practice effective hand hygiene.  This includes before and after:
    • Eating or drinking
    • Going to the bathroom
    • Contact with others
    • Coughing and sneezing
    • Touching the mouth, nose or eyes
    • Touching insertion sites or wounds

3. Communicate with visitors:

  • Upon entering the facility, educate visitors on the importance of practicing hand hygiene before and after interacting with a patient

4. Follow the World Health Organization’s “5 moments for Hand Hygiene”

  • It is crucial for healthcare workers to be properly trained on these key moments as they will help reduce transmission via the hands between the patient and other patients in the facility. 

[1] Owens, Katie. The HCAHPS Imperative for Creating a Patient-Centered Experience. Baptist Leadership Group, 2011.

[2] Misuraca, J.; Brooksbank, et al.. Using Evidence-Based Strategies to Reduce Blood stream Infection Rates on a Hematology Oncology Inpatient Unit, Post Presentation Presented at the 35th Annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress, San Diego, CA.