Chris states, three areas appear to encompass the problems faced by the Faith Community Hospital, which include organizational processes, ethics issues, and communication systems, all of which has resulted in the difficulties, both financial and otherwise, currently faced. All three issues interrelate, and thus problems in one of the areas affect others as well.
The root of the problem seems to lie in the area of communication. Organizational processes and ethical issues are not being discussed in a unifying manner. The mission statement of the hospital has been written on its business cards, but this is apparently not effective in carrying out the mission so stated. The problem is thus one of interpretation and the method of communication. Because there are so many professionals working at the hospital, a wide variety of often conflicting principles and ethics come into play.
The result of this is that it appears that each individual person follows his or her ethical views when dealing with health care situations, without a common principle guiding them. The problem then becomes one of organizational processes. There is a lack of organizational unity and stability as a result of the lack of proper communication. The mission statement is an ethical principle that is being interpreted differently by each individual, according to personally held beliefs and practices.
The above detracts from the goals and objectives of the hospital, which is to provide the best possible health care for the community in which it serves, according to a set of spiritual values held by the hospital. This goal is supported by a number of dedicated staff doing their best to work in the interest of both the hospital and the patients, together with their families.
The effects of the problems experienced however create conflict, often between patients' family members and hospital staff. Problems such as law suit threats then furthermore detracts from the reputation of the hospital, and may result in a lower quality of health care provided for patients, and a lack of trust within the community. The problems also affect the staff, as working in an already stressful environment is exacerbated by conflicts among workers regarding the best way in which to interpret the mission statement. Finally, the lack of proper organization practices results in financial problems that are difficult to pin down, as there appear to be many diverse ways of dealing with patients within the hospital.
The focus of the solution should thus be to eliminate uncertainty for both staff members, patients, and their families.
In devising a solution to the above problems, it is important to make sure that the problems are not exacerbate the already existing problems; especially in terms of finances. As the problem appears to be rooted in a unified approach to health care, this should be addressed first.
At the meeting then, one of the issues should be the mission statement. It should be discussed in terms of its exact meaning and the philosophy behind it. A memo should then be drawn up in order to determine what is understood by the underlying principles behind the words of the mission statement. A unified principle should then be reached, according to which health care is provided. The memo should be adhered to by all staff members, and should also be given to patients and their families in order to ensure that no law suits could result from life-saving actions by hospital staff.
The communication process should then be organized in a way that is inclusive of everybody involved in the hospital and its paradigm of care. Communication should also be encouraged, in that staff members should be made to feel comfortable sharing thoughts and inputs, or anything that bothers them about the practicing principles of the hospital. A committee could be chosen in order to facilitate this process and help management cope with the workload. All interpretation and decision questions should be addressed to this committee and finally cleared by management. In this way communication channels can remain open, while more clarity is achieved in terms of the principles that staff members need to adhere to.
In terms of financial problems, all costs incurred by the care of patients should be channeled through a single entity in the form of example a financial committee. In this way the exact costs of care can be determined, and strategies and principles devised in order to save both money and lives.
Organizational processes can be facilitated by approaching all staff members for possible solutions to organizational problems. This could occur by means of a questionnaire, or an interview. Time limits should be kept in mind with these methods. A questionnaire might be able to be studied more thoroughly, while also taking less time as it can be given to any number of persons at the same time. These can then be scanned by a committee in order to determine the best solution to organizational problems.
All of the above can be implemented and monitored for effectiveness on a continuous basis. Another idea that can be implemented in terms of all of the above is a suggestion box for both staff members, patients, and family members. These can be addressed at weekly or bi-weekly intervals.
I believe the above addresses the most important difficulties within the organizational structure and systems of the hospital. A single committee with various experts could be implemented to address all of the issues and facilitate communication between the staff and management. It will then also serve a clarifying function in terms of principles that should be adhered to at the hospital.
In terms of individually held ethics, staff members could be asked to draw up memorandums of their own most preciously held convictions in terms of health care. These should then be used in drawing up the general memorandum of ethics and principles to be adhered to uniformly throughout the hospital.
At the moment it appears that each individual is conducting his or her work according to individually held principles without a general guiding force. This is why the structure and care of patients appear to be in such a chaotic state. This can be addressed by referring all extreme problem cases to management, while the committee could handle less complicated cases. When decisions are made in this way organizational processes will also improve. This will give less incentive for patients to sue the hospital for lack of proper care to patients.
In dealing with patients and their families, the communication process should also be improved. All persons involved with the patient should then meet with the family, during which all guiding principles and care processes should be agreed upon, to be drawn up in a signed document. This will then help to bring more clarity in terms of treatment processes and principles, where the family is also allowed to voice their opinions and adhere to their own ethics. The document thus drawn up should be legally binding, and all personnel working with the patient should retain a copy for reference and to minimize the chances of mistakes.
The impact of the above will be greater public trust, a better reputation for the hospital, and better care giving in general. In terms of the press, aiming for these processes will create a good impression in the public eye and furthermore encourage investors to provide funds for the hospital.
Rationale and Conclusions
The Faith Community Hospital has as its purpose the care and well-being of the community. Currently this care is not provided at an optimum level, because of various difficulties in organizational processes, communication and ethics issues. These can all be addressed by restructuring the way in which the hospital's organizational process works. A committee appointed to deal with all of the above-mentioned issues can unify the…