The dedicated healthcare worker is possibly the most vital element in the recovery or stability of a patient’s health. A physician may make assessments and diagnosis, but the nurse, physician’s assistant, or other healthcare worker is the one who is able to closely monitor and observe treatments given, as well as note the patient’s response to changes in medicines, therapy routines, and dietary restrictions.
Definition of Quality Care
The Roper, Logan and Tierney’s 12 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) was established in the 1970s as an overall guide to a patient’s daily life. The list includes the activities that are a normal part of daily life. This report can be used to enable healthcare workers to assess the components involved in quality care. The 12 ADLs include the following:
- Maintaining a safe environment
- Communication; verbal or otherwise
- Eating and drinking
- Elimination of bodily waste
- Personal hygiene and dressing
- Controlling body temperature to levels of comfort
- Working and playing
- Expressing sexuality
A healthcare worker’s duty is to allow a patient to live, whether in a hospital, home healthcare, or nursing home environment, while assisting in any of the areas needed. Ideally, the healthcare provider will allow the patient to do as much for themselves as possible and make notes of any progress or improvements in the patient’s condition. Some of my former patients in a mental health setting had treatment goals related to gaining more independence with their ADLs.
Healthcare workers, because of the daily and ongoing relationships with their patients, are often the first to recognize unusual discomfort, irritability, lack of appetite, difficulty with elimination or breathing problems. Quality care involves active participation in the well being of the patient. Reporting unusual behavior or difficulties in certain areas can be critical in the overall quality of care and ongoing assessment of the patient’s condition.
Another area that is often caught by the healthcare provider is a medical error. Medical errors are one of the primary causes of injury and death to patients. Reports conducted by the Institute of Medicine conclude that over 50,000 people die in hospitals and healthcare institutions every year as a direct result of a medical error.
Nurses and other healthcare workers who are willing to go the extra mile for the well being of their patients often catch these mistakes. For instance, if a high salt meal is sent up to the room of a patient on a strict, salt-free diet, the healthcare worker who has familiarized himself or herself with the patient and their chart will easily notice this error.
Of course, this is just one example. There are numerous ways to assess the patient and provide quality healthcare. Generally speaking, it is nurses and other healthcare workers who have the genuine passion to serve in the medical field that are able to achieve this high level of care. Those who view their positions as “just a job” or a way to earn a living may find themselves unable to give the level of care that other healthcare providers do.