Aging Parents 101:What Mayo can teach about humanizing the patient experience

My good friend recently received the call that a lot of us baby boomers are dreading.  Her mother, who had been ill for several weeks, was diagnosed with cancer.  Molly did what a lot of us would do and flew back home to with her mom for additional testing and recommendations.  First stop, Mayo Clinic, two and a half hours away.

Molly said she immediately felt held, supported, and cared for by a divine presence when they walked through the doors at Mayo Clinic.  Instead of overwhelm and confusion by the circumstance that brought them there, and by the sheer size of the campus, she felt a relief and a sense of security.  Of course I wanted to know why? 

 Her impressions may sound simple, but are worth sharing, as in all my years of practice, I have never heard anyone relate their hospital experience in such a positive manner.  We can all learn something from Mayo, and here is the top 10 from Molly’s list: 

  1. Free shuttles to and from all the surrounding hotels
  2. 100-plus wheelchairs readily available in the lobby for anyone
  3. Clear signs and information for directions
  4. Tour guides at the door ready to be of assistance
  5. Easily accessible café open 24/7
  6. ALL personnel, from the housekeeping staff to the nurses to the shuttle driver, asked how they could help
  7. Molly’s mother was attended to first, and then the paperwork was completed
  8. The appointments were all on time, but they had no feelings of being rushed by the providers
  9. Even though they treat thousands of referred patients every year, Molly’s mother was made to feel very special
  10. The oncologist who sat down with them asked about each of the family members and answered all their questions.  He told them this was a nightmare and reviewed all of their options, directly but with a true kindness.  His business card said it all:  Humanist, Professor of Oncology 

That about sums it up.  A patient-centered, service-oriented and humanistic healthcare facility.  WOW.  It appears it is possible to achieve all of this even in a busy 500-bed referral center where people come from all over the world to be seen and taken care of.

Mayo’s Mission:

“Quality is not just a simple measure. Quality is a comprehensive look at all aspects of a patient’s experience”. 

I think they have this one handled.  How does your facility compare? 

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