How to Improve Patient Experience in Behavioral Healthcare Settings
Since the coronavirus crisis began, more people than ever have reported struggling with mental illness and addiction. With more people than ever seeking out services, it's essential that the inpatient facilities designed for their care be working diligently toward maintaining high patient satisfaction scores. Read on to find out how to improve the patient experience so that more people adhere to their treatment plans and get the ongoing care required to live a fulfilling life.
Create a Comfortable, Welcoming Environment
No patient wants to receive behavioral healthcare in a facility that feels cold and uninviting. Behavioral health furniture that creates an atmosphere of warmth and welcome without jeopardizing patient safety can help, especially if purchasing new furniture is a part of a broader plan to improve comfort. Other steps that could fall into this category include adding calming artwork to appropriate areas of the facility, changing the color scheme to feel less clinical and more inviting, and focusing on maintaining cleanliness in all areas.
Set and Live Up to Expectations
The first step towards improving patient experience in behavioral healthcare settings occurs before people step foot in the door. Providers can set expectations by providing adequate information about the facility, its staff, and available treatments on the website and keeping all of the information online and in printed materials up-to-date at all times.
People who know what to expect when they check into inpatient programs seeking help with mental illness or substance abuse will have more reasonable expectations, themselves. New patients will know not just what to expect from providers but also what's expected of them. Just make sure to live up to any claims posted on the website or printed in promotional literature.
Develop a Rapport
Behavioral healthcare patients, like all people, want to be treated with respect and dignity. Developing a rapport between staff members and patients is a great way to make everyone feel more comfortable. Healthcare providers can do their part by making an effort to maintain eye contact during scheduled appointments instead of looking at computer screens or charts and by listening actively in all settings, not just during counseling sessions.
It's just as important for patients to develop a healthy rapport with the other staff members involved in their care. Nurses, aides, and other healthcare providers can help to improve the patient experience by taking the time to get to know everyone who joins the program and offering them all the information required to encourage personal empowerment. Patients who feel that they are active partners in caring for their own health are much more likely to succeed in the battle against mental illness or addiction.
Looking Towards the Future
Some people like to pretend that the future of behavioral healthcare lies exclusively in telemedicine and online counseling. However, there will always be a need for inpatient behavioral health facilities. Improving patient experience and comfort in these facilities can help to ensure the best possible outcomes, so start making improvements now and continue evaluating patient satisfaction to determine what steps to take in the future.