Patient Experience Enhancement
by Susan Keane Baker
On our first day in Sweden, we were walking on a country road in Dala-Floda, an area known for Dala horses and folk art. We could see a crosswalk ahead and were amused when we were close enough to see the blue crossing sign.
Later, when visiting Danderyds Sjukhus in Stockholm, I was struck by the hospital’s use of whimsical art and messages that encourage patients and visitors to pay attention. Art can be wonderful for way finding as you tell patients: “turn left when you see the three horses.” What impressed me was the use of whimsy throughout the system, not only in the children’s hospital. Here is art featured on the main floor of the adult hospital:
How could you incorporate whimsy in your organization or division? An easy start is to provide some children’s books in patient areas. Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project says when she is in a bad mood, she loves reading a children’s book to bring happiness back into her day.
The Three Questions, written and illustrated by Jon Muth, reminds us of the importance of questions, of mindfulness and of acting on behalf of others. Based on the story by Leo Tolstoy, the reader follows along as young Nikolai seeks counsel from Leo, the wise old turtle. “What is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?” When an opportunity arises for Nikolai to rescue an injured panda and her baby, he learns the answers. “There is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for someone who is standing by your side.”