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March 2012, Volume 42 Number 3 , p 12 - 14


  • Betty Grant RN-BC


HAVING HAD A TOTAL KNEE replacement, Ms. M is preparing to go home soon. She received several new medications during her admission. Even though the nurses have explained these medications to her, Ms. M still isn't sure what they are or how they'll affect her. Ms. M has asked the nurse to help her with some medication information. Ms. M would especially like to have some printed material that she can share with her husband.The nurse is happy to comply and begins to gather the information requested. The nurse can print some medication instructions from the hospital's centralized online clinical information site, as well as provide some printouts kept on the unit. Because the patient was prescribed many new medications, the nurse will need to access several resources.Now, with all the documents collected, the nurse must decide which ones will best meet Ms. M's needs-in an easy-to-read and understandable format-as well as answer her questions.This was a time-consuming task and many nurses are frustrated that they have to spend so much time away from patients locating patient education resources. This article describes how we solved these problems in a creative way and increased patient satisfaction scores as we did so. First, consider the patients we're serving.The joint replacement center at Maine Medical Center (MMC) performs over 1,800 joint replacements every year. At MMC, we believe that an informed patient is likely to have the best outcomes. As a teaching hospital, MMC makes education a high priority. One of the ways we monitor our patients' satisfaction with how well we attend to their educational needs is by analyzing patient satisfaction surveys.We identified that our patients didn't believe they received as much education about their medications as we'd hoped; this was reflected by low patient satisfaction scores. This finding occurred in spite of the fact that nurses had documented giving printed medication information to our patients with their discharge instructions.One

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