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Oct 30, 2007

K.H.M.H. seeks to raise level of patient service

Story PictureWhether it’s a botched operation, crumbling infrastructure or political interference, the nation’s largest medical facility often seems like the place we love to hate. But like a trusty Timex watch, as much as the K.H.M.H. takes a licking, it somehow keeps on ticking. Today I witnessed some new efforts to do better.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital has embarked on an initiative that should result in improved care and services delivered to the public. Since the health facility opened its doors on September fifteenth, 1995, it has been the subject of criticism by some patients who have complained about the poor quality of care. Although not all of those complaints are justified, the K.H.M.H. has vowed to improve its level of services. Today, the area of concern being addressed is the personal care given to patients. The initial group of employees undergoing the five-day training is the staff at Accident and Emergency, the hospital’s first line of response.

Laurel Grant, Director, Human Resources
“Everybody that works there, security, nurses, doctors, attendants, the cleaners, everybody attending the workshop.”

The workshop will result in a five-week pilot project at the A and E Department where it is expected the staff will make use of their training.

Laurel Grant
“Then we will do an assessment and look at whether–we know we will continue because we intend to target the whole K.H.M.H. community, that’s our intentions–but we’ll look at it and see what we need to change or whether we need to give it a different focus.”

Debbie Ewens, President of Get Real Training has been hired to get the job done. Ewens, who has been offering similar services to a number of organisations throughout the country, says her task is to improve the image of K.H.M.H. by equipping the staff with key community relations skills.

Debbie Ewens, Trainer, K.H.M.H. Workshop
“There are good things in this place. I have found people here who I believe are committed. However, I think that the K.H.M.H. has fallen down on the ability to get the message out there as to the good things that it does.”

“There are things that are severely wrong with this institution in terms of resources, in terms of the amount of the personnel. There are areas that definitely need to be addressed, but I think the important thing is that they recognise that these issues need to be addressed and that makes the difference.”

Ewens says she is optimistic that the programme’s Caring Citizenship Approach will work for what the K.H.M.H. wants to achieve.

Debbie Ewens
“We are hoping to get them to look at the K.H.M.H. as a little mini city where people have rights and responsibilities and where they need to get in touch with themselves in order to offer care to those individuals who come to their city, the tourists who come to their city. And so if they are able to get that message and if they are able to see that each and every individual who comes to this institution is valuable, then they can offer the care to those people that those people require.”

The employees are also being trained on how to handle difficult cases where patients and visitors have been violent.

But as the staff at Accident and Emergency are being trained on the second floor of the institution, their workplace, situated on the ground floor, is also undergoing some changes of its own. In addition to an expansion project as part of its mass casualty plan, the renovations include the replacement of tiles and a paint job.

Gary Ayuso, Public Relations Officer, K.H.M.H.
“We have the staff looking into the colours, they are the ones that are going to choose the colours through the corridors, through their area. And the training comes in hand in hand with that, we see it that we wanted an approach, a holistic approach of this thing.”

Already impressed with the ongoing changes are of two the hospitals most frequent visitors to the A and E’s Asthma Bay that is usually busy around this time of the year. Four year old Jasmine Middleton and sixteen year old Lorrelle Jerez have been asthmatic patients since birth.

Keith Middleton, Father of Jasmine Middleton
“Of course it does make me feel more comfortable and I have more confidence in the hospital and the organisation now due to the fact like I said before the response is much quicker than before you know. The nurses, they are very attentive and the doctors.”

Jacqueline Godwin
“You have been coming here from since you were only three years old, have you noticed a difference in the care that’s given to you?”

Lorrelle Jerez, Asthmatic
”Well the expansion and everything first you had a lot of people in the waiting area, but now you have quick service and everything.”

Jacqueline Godwin
“And this is very important for you when you are not feeling well?”

Lorrelle Jerez
“Yes, very important because I am an asthmatic and I have to always live inna the hospital.”

There are seventy staff members attached to the K.H.M.H. Accident and Emergency Department.

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