Positive outcomes: Prevention vs. Facilitation (hospital vs. hospice)

by Edward Henkler on September 3, 2013

I’m sure most people are aware of the power of visualization and how it can work for or against you.  Visualizing success often yields that result, just as fearing and therefore visualizing failure may bring failure.  I think a similar factor may be at play in hospitals versus hospices.  Earlier this year, I escorted a very close friend through the hospice process.  While it was not easy losing a dear friend, I was incredibly impressed with the hospice staff and I wondered why their approach was so different from any experience I’ve had in a hospital.  As I investigated, I realized that hospitals are trying to prevent things….deteriorating health and death.  There is typically only one outcome of hospice care and all of their efforts are focused on facilitating a relatively untroubled passing.  Hospitals tend to focus on preventing certain outcomes while hospices are promoting an outcome.

I am not pretending that anyone would prefer to be in a hospice but I do wonder what might happen if hospitals could shift their thinking to restoring health rather than preventing illness and infection.  Hospitals clearly want to restore their patient’s health but so much of what happens is focused on preventing negatives.  The image that comes most to mind is the 3:00am wake-up to ensure that your vital signs are good and to give you some medicine.  Those early morning wake-ups, all of the beeping monitoring equipment, and much of the other activity tends to generate stress.  If a patient had the right to less intrusive and more palliative care, might they respond better and faster?

Visualize Success

I don’t know the answer but I do know that I dreaded the hospice until the moment I walked into the facility.  From that moment on, I felt that I witnessed the true value of the nursing profession, which is to nurture and care.  Translate this to your work environment and try to shift your thinking from preventing negative outcomes to facilitating positive ones and I think many more positive outcomes will result.

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