3 Ways to Make the Most of Hourly Patient Rounds

Posted by Cathy Swenson, RN, BSN, MA on April 12, 2018
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NurseRoundsStaying in the hospital can be a stressful and overwhelming experience for many people. In addition to battling anxiety about medical conditions, tests and procedures, many patients may also be perplexed by the frequent noise, annoyed by beeps and alarms from bedside machines, and simply feel uncomfortable being away from the comforts of home. Research indicates that checking on patients at regular intervals—otherwise known as hourly rounding—helps address basic patient needs, as well as enhance patient safety and the patient experience, says a September 2014 study in the Journal of Nursing Administration.

According to the Journal of Nursing Administration, being in the hospital places patients in “dependent roles and [makes them] become socially and emotionally vulnerable. They are compelled to request assistance with basic needs such as repositioning, eating and elimination. Unfamiliar with hospital routines and how to get needs met, patients access the primary mechanism at their disposal: the nurse call button.”

Frequent use of the nurse call button can lead clinicians to experience alarm fatigue, a type of sensory overload that occurs when nurses or other clinicians are exposed to multiple alarms. Alarm fatigue can lead to missed alarms or even desensitization, according to the AACN Advanced Critical Care journal. Plus, The Joint Commission estimates that 85 to 99 percent of alarm signals do not actually require clinical intervention.

So, how can you help your nursing team make the most of their hourly rounds with patients and limit the frequent use of the nurse call button? Follow these three suggestions.

  1. Create a systemized rounding routine. Nurse rounding is more effective when done consistently. Use a tool or software that delivers real-time data and holds nurses accountable, such as Amplion’s messaging and reminders suite. Our advanced messaging functionality makes it easy to improve patient satisfaction and safety by enhancing the quality and consistency of call response, rounding, turns, pain assessment and vitals.

  2. Get rid of pen and paper. Many hospitals still use pen and paper when it comes to nurse rounds. Not only do handwritten reports mean more work for nurses, but they also limit the potential of what that gathered patient information can do. The latest technology, such as Amplion’s real-time reporting portal, allows nurses to more easily input information and see up-to-the-minute data, so clinicians can diagnose issues and ensure better patient outcomes. Amplion’s reporting platform also helps nursing leadership balance the clinical workflow and prevent caregiver burnout.

  3. Follow the script. Nurse rounds are most effective and meaningful when they include the following elements:

    1. A respectful greeting. Knock on the door, greet the patient and family by name, and then introduce yourself.

    2. Explanation of rounding. Explain to the patient how rounding works. Say something like, “We want to ensure you have the best care possible. We will round every hour from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. We will not wake you if you are sleeping. When we stop by, we will ask about your pain, your comfort, whether you need to use the restroom and if you need anything for your care.”

    3. Performance of scheduled tasks. Complete any physician-ordered treatments or administer any scheduled or needed medications.

    4. Communication of your return and/or the next shift change. Let the patient know when you or another nurse will be coming by to check on them again.

Want to make nurse rounding meaningful at your facility? Give us a call for a free demonstration to learn how the Amplion Alert Care Assurance Platform can help raise the bar on patient care.

Topics: Blog, Patient Safety

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