Purposeful and timely rounding is a best practice intervention to routinely meet patient care needs, ensure patient safety, decrease the occurrence of patient preventable events, and proactively address problems before they occur. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) endorsed hourly rounding as the best way to reduce call lights and fall injuries, and increase both quality of care and patient satisfaction. Nurse knowledge regarding purposeful rounding and infrastructure supporting timeliness are essential components for consistency with this patient centered practice.
The project aimed to improve patient satisfaction and safety through implementation of purposeful and timely nursing rounds. Goals for patient satisfaction scores and fall volume were set. Specific objectives were to determine current compliance with evidence-based criteria related to rounding times and protocols, improve best practice knowledge among staff nurses, and increase compliance with these criteria.
For the objectives of this project the Joanna Briggs Institute’s Practical Application of Clinical Evidence System and Getting Research into Practice audit tools were used. Direct observation of staff nurses on a medical surgical unit in the United States was employed to assess timeliness and utilization of a protocol when rounding. Interventions were developed in response to baseline audit results. A follow-up audit was conducted to determine compliance with the same criteria. For the project aims, pre- and post-intervention unit-level data related to nursing-sensitive elements of patient satisfaction and safety were compared.
Rounding frequency at specified intervals during awake and sleeping hours nearly doubled. Use of a rounding protocol increased substantially to 64% compliance from zero. Three elements of patient satisfaction had substantive rate increases but the hospital’s goals were not reached. Nurse communication and pain management scores increased modestly (5% and 11%, respectively). Responsiveness of hospital staff increased moderately (15%) with a significant sub-element increase in toileting (41%). Patient falls decreased by 50%.
Nurses have the ability to improve patient satisfaction and patient safety outcomes by utilizing nursing round interventions which serve to improve patient communication and staff responsiveness. Having a supportive infrastructure and an organized approach, encompassing all levels of staff, to meet patient needs during their hospital stay was a key factor for success. Hard-wiring of new practices related to workflow takes time as staff embrace change and understand how best practice interventions significantly improve patient outcomes.
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