‘Touch Points’ Initiative Improves Communication and Patient Care

Nurses discuss patient needs four times daily

Like many healthcare organizations, the nurses at Marymount Hospital rely on quick morning huddles to hand-off patients during a shift change. But the 322-bed community hospital, which is part of the Cleveland Clinic health system, wanted another method to share information among all nursing staff on its unit several times a day. A year ago, Marymount Hospital implemented the “Touch Points” initiative. Now, staff gathers at the nurses’ station at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. to discuss what tasks need to be completed, who is responsible for those tasks, special patient issues, discharges, transfers and admissions.

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“Touch Points is a strategic move to improve caregiver-to-caregiver communication while focusing on patient-centered care,” says Donna Koterba, BSN, RN, Director of Nursing, Medical-Surgical and Behavioral Health at Marymount Hospital. The charge nurse gathers all members of the team, including RNs, PCNAs and LPNs, for 10 to 15-minute meetings. “Since you get full participation, everyone feels like a valued member of the team,” says Koterba.

Mini meetings benefit patients and caregivers

There are multiple benefits to Touch Points, including the following:

  • Improved patient safety – For example, nurses share information about patients who are at a high risk for falls, encouraging peers to keep a close eye on those patients and implement falls prevention strategies.
  • Improved National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators(NDNQI®) nursing-sensitive indicators – For instance, the team reviews all patients with Foley catheters and when they need to be removed to help reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).
  • Reduced caregiver stress – By sharing information on their patient load, nurses can help one another. For instance, a surgical unit may be busy during the 3 p.m. Touch Point meeting, with some patients being discharged while other post-operative patients are coming to the unit. Nurses can share ideas on the best way to divide patients.
  • Increased patient satisfaction – When patients’ needs are met quickly, they are more likely to be happy with the care they receive.
  • Heightened collaboration – With new technologies and processes, such as workstations on wheels and bedside reporting, it’s easy for nurses to operate independently. But collaboration among nursing staff is beneficial to nurses and patients. “Touch Points promote awareness of what’s going on throughout the unit,” says Koterba.

Improved communication helps increase patient satisfaction

The overarching benefit of Touch Points is enhanced communication. “When communication improves, then patient satisfaction scores and quality metrics will improve, too,” says Koterba. “At Marymount Hospital, our objective is to improve our patients’ experience, with the goal of reaching 90 percent or better satisfaction rates.” Having nurses meet four times daily during Touch Points to coordinate patient care is helping the community hospital move toward this goal.

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Photo credit © Russell Lee