Health Care Communication Methods
Health Care Communication Methods
This notice is part of an information package I, as the administrator of the Shady Pines Nursing Home, will be sending out to both the staff here at the center and to the administrative staff of the Rolling Hills Corporation. This information will help facilitate the transfer of those residents here at Shady Pines that no longer fall under the prevue of the new corporate guidelines. As some of the residents have communication issues or have no local family support, we as their caregivers need to ensure that all methods of communication are utilized to ensure a smooth relocation situation. Some of these methods will include the more traditional types, such as letters or phone calls to the guardians of those affected by the relocation (Du Pré, 2005). Other methods available for our use will be electronic in nature. One type of electronic communication is email (Du Pré, 2005). Social media communication types, such as texts to the guardians, will be used when all other types of communication has failed.
Each of these types of communication will also be used within the Shady Pines facility, to keep all staff updated on any changes that indubitably occur and to help ease the transition as well. Communication between the staff at Shady Pines and Rolling Hills is vital also, so that any conflicts can be handled efficiently. As I mentioned before, one of the different types of communication we have available to us is what many consider the traditional format. This type includes such methods as phone calls and letters to the guardians of the residents who are on the list to be moved (Du Pré, 2005). Please make sure to verify all contact information before releasing the minimal details in either the letters or phone calls. The team needs to make all conscious effort to follow all HIPAA regulations with these communications. Contact your department manager if you have questions before sending out the written correspondences. We need to make the letters as easy to understand as possible.
Letters are more secure than some other types of interaction in that the letter is addressed to the corresponding person. We will be using interdepartmental memos for the various correspondences within the Shady Pines facility. I see more phone conversations between our center and the Rolling Hills staff as this is a faster method of staying in touch with our new sister agency. Another method we will make use of will be emailed communication. Some of the residents’ guardians will have left their contact information, but there again, please be sure to follow all HIPAA regulations when including personal health information in said emails. This type of communication is sometimes quicker than letters, depending on the person’s access to a computer network. Email may not be the most secure method of communication. If a person uses a Smartphone as their access point and it is lost or stolen, then the emails and all personal health information (PHI) can be accessed by unauthorized people.
The last method I mentioned falls under the social media category. Methods such as texting, or posting any type of PHI on a social media site is strictly against all HIPAA policies, both state and federal. The best our contact staff can use the text messages for is to encourage the guardian to make contact with the center on an important matter. I have plans in the works to create a specific department to handle the details of contact between both the guardians, as well as the residents affected by the potential move. I plan to follow the same guidelines that the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) have in place to manage the many different departments under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) umbrella.
According to Draper (2014), “These communication mechanisms include the agency’s operational planning process; crosscutting workgroups and meetings; and regular communications among the Office of the Administrator, leaders in the bureaus and offices, and agency staff” (p. 18). Using these different processes will help keep everyone in the communication loop and give everyone the support needed during this merger of our two agencies. I have plans to continue this method of communication after the merger is complete to help insure the continuation of efficient interaction between both centers. As most of our residents are in the older age category, we need to take particular interest in how we pass along the transfer information to those who require it. We should not discriminate on the resident’s ages and assume that all the affected residents will feel the same about the move to a new location (Du Pré, 2005). Every person is an individual and should be treated as such. Be considerate with those affected, as this will be a very traumatic experience for them.
According to Du Pré, “patients interpret their health within the arena most familiar to them – everyday life” (p. 116). That being said; it is important to be as empathic as possible, giving the resident as much information as he or she can handle to be able to understand the changing situation. Keep in mind that many of the residents have low health literacy and will not be able to understand some types of medical terminology in context. Be attentive to any stress indicators and be attentive to the feelings of those affected. I have mentioned the merger of our center with that of the Rolling Hills center. Good communication is needed to ensure that the transition from our center to the new one is a smooth one.
We will be using such communication methods like phone calls, letters, email, and fax to keep all merger information up to date. Contact with the guardians of the affected residents will fall under all HIPAA regulations in the matter of the PHI given out. Keep in mind the medical literacy level of the residents involved in the move. Using the new department to keep all matters of contact organized and flowing will help increase our efficiency during this transitional period. Other information will follow listing the people who are in charge of in the transitional unit and what sections they cover. Again, if you have and questions or if any difficulties arise, please notify your department immediately.
Draper, D. A. (2014). Review of Internal Communication Mechanisms, Staffing, and Use of
Contracts. Washington DC, Maryland: GAO Reports. Retrieved from the University of
Du Pré, A. (2005). Communicating about health: Current issues and perspectives (2nd ed).
Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.