Once upon a time, a major regional hospital got a very large donation from someone whose life they had saved. In her donation, she stated that while her physical care was top notch and life-saving, she had not always liked the way she was treated. She dedicated this fund to improve patient relations, and help this very excellent hospital implement best practices for patient care and comfort. Her belief was that when patients feel respected and comfortable, their outcomes are better. I agree with her.

Fast forward and many US hospitals are incorporating best practices into their patient care. Here is a summary of the main points on a checklist that staff have on the back of their badges, for example:

Knock before entering patient room. Be open and friendly, make contact. Acknowledge their family members.

Tell patients who you are by name and title. Tell them your role in their care and what you are going to help them with.

Let patients know how long you expect procedures or tests to take, and when you expect results. Let them know the purpose of your plan.

Communicate clearly using simple terms. Explain things in a way patients can grasp. Ask open-ended questions. Make sure they are clear.

When you say goodbye, show them appreciation. Thank them for being a patient. Show them love.

Some of these guidelines could be modified slightly and used in many of our work and home situations, couldn’t they?