For the last two weeks, I have had the opportunity to visit two amazing healthcare institutions in São Paulo, Brazil – Hospital Sírio Libanêse and Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein – and meet healthcare leaders from across Latin America committed to improving patient experience. While there I had the unique experience of watching the approach of and resulting impact of Hurricane Harvey on Texas and Louisiana from outside the United States. As was evident in every report, the challenge this storm posed for the communities it impacted, their infrastructure and their healthcare organizations placed a significant strain on the system and created great need.
As we have seen in patient experience efforts around the globe, a central priority has emerged, one focused on taking care of not just those we serve in healthcare, but the people serving as well. This idea of caring for our team and staff in healthcare, of ensuring the engagement and care of our employees, was in fact the fastest growing point of focus in supporting patient experience success in The State of Patient Experience 2017. It is clear that taking care of those who give of themselves in healthcare is something we cannot and should not take lightly. This is no more relevant than at this moment in cities such as Houston, TX in the aftermath of Harvey (and now for those in the path of Hurricane Irma).
For all that healthcare organizations have done to support the needs of their communities impacted by Harvey, they too have been literally underwater. With many instances of organizations with disrupted and/or discontinued services, these organizations have stretched their capacity to care for the communities they serve. Yet, what we must realize is that those providing care are not only caregivers, they are the affected themselves. They too may be displaced by flooding or damage, their families impacted and their lives disrupted, yet they have remained steadfast in their efforts to care for those in need.
It is in times like this where the need to care for those who provide care is impossible to miss. It also reinforces that we cannot and should not overlook this need any day in which we are looking to provide the best in care for our communities, for the best in care starts with taking care of our own people. And this critical time calls on not just the organizations impacted to step up, but truly all of us with the means and/or desire to help to do the same.
Our colleagues at ACHE last week called for the support of an effort at the Texas Hospital Association, which has established the THA Hospital Employee Assistance Fund to help hospital employees who experienced significant property loss or damage due to Hurricane Harvey. There are also still significant needs for all those impacted by this event that can be supported via the American Red Cross and numerous other charitable opportunities.
These needs and the opportunities to help are now being elevated by the latest storm, Irma. With her eye already impacting many and set at one of the busiest hubs of healthcare activity in the United States, the need to care for one another and our call to take care of others is only further reinforced. This is not a time to sit idly by, but rather recognize that whether in the path of a literal storm or in the dynamic and chaotic environment that healthcare globally presents, we must never overlook the opportunity to care for those who care.
In the industry of caring for others that healthcare represents and the profession of patient experience that is emerging at its core, we must not forget that our primary means of delivering on our purpose, promise and commitments is through the very people who give of themselves every day to care for others. It is in times like this that we all must step up to care for and support them.
I invite you to join us in this effort, to support the affected members of our community and all those in need. For in healthcare, where we are human beings caring for human beings, and with an unwavering commitment to the human experience in healthcare (and beyond), we are called to act and help those in our communities who need us. There may be no greater purpose in our work, and no greater effort in ensuring we maintain the best in experience for all we care for and serve. Thank you for joining us in this effort as our deepest thoughts and warmest wishes go to all impacted by Harvey and those preparing for the arrival of Irma.
The following links will allow you to learn more about and contribute to the following causes and I invite you to share other means of support for these efforts via the comments section below:
THA Hospital Employee Assistance Fund
American Red Cross
Jason A. Wolf, PhD, CPXP
The Beryl Institute