|Outstanding Customer Service Initiative: UCHealth Patient Watch Program - A Case Study
|By: Kenneth Bukowski, VP, Healthcare, Allied Universal
Allied Universal prides itself on the level of customer service it provides in the healthcare environment. One example is the UCHealth Patient Watch Program, designed to maintain the safety of the patient, hospital staff, and visitors in a courteous, professional and empathic manner. UCHealth – a nationally recognized, nonprofit network of seven acute care hospitals and clinics that operates throughout Colorado, southern Wyoming, and western Nebraska – is anchored by its academic partner University of Colorado Hospital, an award-winning institution.
To accomplish its goal of quality care and service in a caring manner, security professionals must project and maintain a positive image through their actions, attitude, conduct and interactions with patients, visitors, and staff to promote trust and a sense of protection and well-being.
Patient Watch Officers are assigned to patients who present a danger to themselves or others in both the Emergency Department and in-patient units. Continuous observation and a direct line of sight to the patient are essential. Security personnel can be responsible for one or up to four patients. The program requires team members who are highly trained in de-escalation knowledge and skills to include both verbal and physical techniques.
The Security Watch service is used when a patient:
In addition to ensuring the safety and well-being of patients, visitors, and staff, other important benefits of this program include more efficient and effective use of medical staff to care for patients by freeing nurses and nursing assistants from the need to watch a single patient and instead allowing them to provide care to several patients. Also, patients are able to be moved out of restraints more quickly.
- is a danger to him/herself or others
- has attempted suicide or has suicidal thoughts
- is homicidal
- is under the influence of an unknown substance such as drugs and/or alcohol
- is physically combative and/or aggressive with the medical staff
“The safer nurses feel at work, the more confidence they portray, which increases their satisfaction and reduces turnover. All save the hospital money by more effective use of medical staff and increase the care and satisfaction of their patients,” says Jim Strife, UCHealth director of security. “The officers’ presence and skill also lower the number of crisis team responses and resources needed. Team observations, documented every 15 minutes, provide additional information on a patient’s status to the medical staff.”
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