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Creating an optimal healing environment

December 17th, 2008

by Nick Jacobs

Paul Levy's post regarding unnecessary deaths is something about which I am also passionate. While it may not currently be mainstream, I believe it is enormously effective.

Some of you might say that our theory is Pollyanna in nature, but there is quantifiable information that definitively demonstrates its effectiveness. And I believe that by embracing a philosophy that creates an optimal healing environment, many workplace "never" incidents will ultimately be resolved.

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If we as CEOs direct our energies toward creating a healing environment for everyone involved, I believe that all employees will respond with pride, ownership of their roles and a commitment to assist patients in every way, above and beyond the call of duty. When questions are asked, such as "Why don't people wash their hands?" or "What is it about a hospital that allows infections and mistakes to flourish?" the responses usually have to do with human error, judgement and frailty.

It is my sincere belief, that by addressing the root of these human issues, we can make a huge difference. Facts about optimal healing environments are currently being quantified by organizations like Planetree and the Samueli Institute. The creation of an environment that is not just verbalized, but actually lived--an optimal healing environment for physicians, employees and patients where care and nurturing attitudes are directed toward all of the players--will result in an environment where the patients will thrive. Twenty-four hour visiting, live plants, decorative fountains, aroma, massages, music, and humor therapy are all contributors to the creation of a womb-like environment where patients have a chance to fight off infections.

We, as leaders, must work each and every day to demonstrate that everyone involved in the running of a hospital is critical in every way for that hospital's mission to succeed. None of this can be accomplished simply through words.

Create an optimal healing environment, and see the results.

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