Archive April 2018 XIX, No. 4

Create the Perfect Cataract Surgery Experience

Pampered patients head home smiling and satisfied with the care they received.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Executive Editor


Happy Family
ALL SMILES Cataract surgery patients who feel like valued customers will have plenty of positive things to say about your staff and facility.

The patient had her first cataract removed at a major medical center in Philadelphia. "She said it felt as if she'd gone in for open heart surgery," says Claire Welliver, RN, the director of nursing at the Main Line Surgery Center in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. The patient's experience when her surgeon removed her second cataract at a warm and friendly ASC? "She said it was like visiting a spa to get her hair done," say Ms. Welliver.

There's no doubt that the more you do to make cataract patients feel relaxed and welcome, the more good things they'll have to say about the care you provide. Oftentimes, it's the little things that matter most. "We hold patients' hands as they're heading back for surgery and throughout the entire procedure," says Ms. Welliver. "We tell them to give a little squeeze if they have any issues and that we'll be right there to help. They absolutely love that sense of connection."

What else can you do to ensure your patients have a pleasant stay?

1. Make a connection

Cataracts are 60% of the caseload at the Delray Beach (Fla.) Surgery Center. "They're our bread-and-butter procedures, so we make sure patients feel valued," says Carol Cappella, RN, MSN, CNOR, the facility's clinical director.

Those efforts begin as soon as cases are scheduled when members of Ms. Cappella's staff call patients to invite them to register for surgery through the center's online portal, which lets them fill out electronic forms at their convenience. Staff members follow up with patients in the days before surgery to briefly review the information patients have submitted and to answer questions they might have about their procedure.

They also use that opportunity to make connections and establish relationships with patients that make them feel informed and comfortable about what will happen on the day of surgery.

"Older patients who undergo cataract surgery often enjoy talking on the phone and they're usually excited to meet the staff member who they spoke to when they arrive for surgery," says Ms. Cappella. "Don't ignore the importance of establishing that personal bond as soon as possible."

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