Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Motto That Matters

The Mayo Clinic Hospital's admission packet notes this: "Our primary value-the needs of the patient come first-is a commitment made every day by every employee". This month Michael spent four and a half days as an in-patient there following a referral by his San Diego physician for a SPECT scan and an overall review of Michael's history in an effort to gain more insight and come up with a treatment plan that brings some relief from the seizures that have overtaken his life in the past year.

We don't know the results of the tests yet. We DO know this-our experience at Mayo was unlike any other we have had in navigating the health care system during the last few decades. I have been a part of health care systems that seek highly paid consultant groups advice and create new vision and mission statements rolling them out in glossy brochures and banners proclaiming this is what we believe NOW or for several years until a new regimen invites the services of yet another consulting group to reshape or shake up the temporary belief system. Employees typically don't buy into these administrative efforts to change an organization since they recognize this too shall pass.

Barry and I had numerous discussions while we were at Mayo. Why were we so impressed? What was so different? One day I said, "it's more than a motto. It is TRULY the culture of the organization; they walk the talk". Every  person we came in contact with exhibited via words and actions that Michael's needs (and ours as an extension of him) did indeed "come first". Registration staff, cafeteria cashiers, physicians, nurses, anesthetists, pre-op and recovery staff, housekeepers. Every. One. It's so simple, really. After all, hospitals and health systems exist for one reason don't they? Or they did. Once upon a time. The Mayo brothers and their father got it right many decades ago and their legacy lives on. Did you see when I posted the quote of Dr. William J. Mayo? "The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered". How did many of our modern health care systems stray so far from that basic tenet?

Lastly, I want to address the environment. I'm a nurse. I've been in many hospitals in all parts of this country. This hospital was the cleanest I've ever experienced. Spotless. Michael's room was quite large. The recliner provided for anyone wishing to spend the night was comfortable and easy to convert to a bed. The belt that was applied lightly to Michael's waist while in bed had a lock that only staff could access thus assuring there would be no venturing out of bed unmonitored. The Lift and Track system enabled Michael to walk and exercise and enter the private bathroom in his room ALONE while the staff who managed the lift talked through a crack in the door. Had he experienced a seizure while in the vest connected to the lift, a mechanism would have suspended him in air to avoid injury until proper placement. How did this make us feel? It made us feel safe. Safe and secure enough to enjoy dinners out and return to our OWN room until the next morning. First time. Twenty-seven years.

Our stay was not without a couple blips and mishaps. But nothing that overshadowed our overall satisfaction that we were cared for and cared for well. As we end what has been a very trying year, I wanted to write a post that felt positive and grateful and gave me hope for the future. I have a plan. I'm on a mission to improve services to epilepsy patients a little closer to home. Wish me luck. And Happy Holidays to you and those you love.