H means HELP! And now in many hospitals, a patient or visitor is provided with the phone number for a “hot line” to use to voice urgent concerns if they arise.
Along with the recognition of patient’s rights and responsibilities to Speak Up and be heard, as well as the desire to improve the quality of health care, many hospitals have implemented the use of “Condition H.” Upon admission, patients are given information about this service and the number for them to call if needed. It enables patients and their visitors to call for immediate help from a rapid-response team if:
• a noticeable change in the patient’s condition occurs and the health care team is not present or not responding to the patient’s or visitors’ concerns,
• there is a breakdown in how care is being given or confusion about the care plan,
• they become concerned about what is happening and need an urgent response from other health professionals.
Traditionally, condition codes have been used only by health care providers. “Condition H” differs in that patients and visitors are asked to alert caregivers to clinical changes. Every Condition H call brings a rapid response team immediately to the patient’s bedside so the concern can be heard and an evaluation made.
To read about how the program was developed following the experience of one family, go to the Josie King Foundation. Or gather more information from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
I like the idea of inviting patients and their loved ones to be part of the health care team. What about you? I am proud to say this is used successfully by the hospital where I teach.