No one wants to think about being hospitalized, but it is wise to be prepared. It’s best to learn about the hospitals in your area while you’re feeling fine to minimize surprises in case you need to choose a hospital suddenly.
Where does your doctor practice? Find out where your doctor has hospital privileges before choosing a hospital, so you can continue in that person’s care.
It all starts with your relationship with a doctor. Almost everyone comes to hospital care as a result of a visit with a physician. Research the hospitals that the doctor practices in before making a final decision. You want to learn about what services each hospital offers and its areas of expertise.
Ask specific questions
- Does the hospital explain the patient’s rights and responsibilities?
- What doctors will be involved in your care and how will they be informed about your specific needs?
- Are social workers available?
- What is the hospital’s success record in carrying out the specific medical procedure you need?
- How many procedures has the hospital performed?
- How often is the procedure done?
- What is the hospital’s mortality rate?
- What is the hospital’s complication rate?
- What is the hospital’s surgical site infection rate?
Many of the answers to these questions can be found at Hospital Compare, a free service provided by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.
Commitment to Quality
A commitment to quality also is important, but can be tough to measure. Find out if the hospital measures its customer service performance and if it is accredited.
Accreditation by the Joint Commission means the hospital voluntarily sought accreditation and meets national health and safety standards. The Joint Commission conducts on-site surveys every three years to review a hospital’s medical and nursing care, physical condition, life safety program, special care units, pharmaceutical services, infection control procedures and other areas.
The Joint Commission looks at the quality of patient care and the quality of the employees, including physicians. What’s more, they ensure that, in the event of an emergency, all staff knows what to do, not just the nurses.
What’s the reputation?
Consider the hospital’s reputation. Have they received awards for their quality of care, patient safety and service? Silver Cross Hospital has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for 7 years, achieving excellence in clinical outcomes, patient safety, treatment standards, efficiency, financial stability, and growth in services. Patients served by Silver Cross Hospital can be assured that they are receiving dependable, quality care because the hospital is doing the right thing at the right time—every time.
In addition, Silver Cross Hospital has been recognized as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers with its Hospital of Choice Award.
How good are the nurses?
The customer-service benchmarking company Press Ganey Associates has found that Silver Cross’ nurses have consistently been in the 90th percentile in quality of care. For years, our patients have been impressed by the sensitivity, courtesy and promptness of our nurses.
That’s important, because in many ways, it’s the nurses who determine the success of a patient’s hospital experience. You probably won’t see the doctor as much as the nurse, so ask your physician about his view of the nursing care and ask about the nurse-to-patient ratio and what kind of specialized training the nurses have.
Because the nursing staff is so important, surgical patients should tour the hospital before the big day. Expectant parents are used to the idea of touring the hospital, but all potential surgical patients should do that, too. Prospective patients can contact us or call (815) 300-1100 to schedule a time to come to Silver Cross for a tour and meet the nurses.
More Helpful Tips
- Find out where your doctor has hospital privileges. Discuss what he or she likes about a particular hospital.
- Research the hospital. Find out what services are offered and areas of specialization.
- Make sure the hospital offers the services you are most likely to need, especially if you have a chronic condition.
- Check your insurance to make sure the hospital and services are covered.
- Ask about nursing care because you most likely will see the nurse more often than the doctor.