Boston Hospitals with Unique Programs Designed to Improve Your Stay
Old school: Emergency rooms with longer lines than the RMV, sitting for hours while a loved one is in surgery, feeling alone while you’re poked and prodded. New school: personal operating-room nurses, emergency-room scheduling apps, and compassionate companions.
You Will Get Answers
New England Baptist Hospital
At New England Baptist Hospital, a dedicated nurse liaison like Mary Ellen O’Connell fields presurgery questions from patients and families, then provides updates during the operation. Families can call a dedicated number anytime they need information. Team members can also peek in on surgeries for a status check—a service unique to Baptist. Then, nurses will scour the hospital for loved ones if they have news. “We’re a little bit like a concierge service,” O’Connell says. “We walk all the time. We’re looking all the time.”
You Won’t Be Alone
Boston Medical Center
They knew the fortysomething day laborer had suffered a heart attack, irreparably damaging his brain. They knew he hailed from the Dominican Republic and had a young daughter. But despite a massive effort, the staff at Boston Medical Center couldn’t locate next of kin. So they took turns sitting with the man during his final hours. “I have to take consolation that he was surrounded by people who cared about him, even though they didn’t know him,” says Sheryl Katzanek, the hospital’s patient advocacy director. In response, BMC was the first Boston hospital to adopt a national program called Compassionate Companions. Employee volunteers regularly come in early, stay late, or use lunch hours to comfort terminally ill patients when family and friends cannot. Sometimes they talk, and sometimes they read poetry or play music. The vigils may also pass in warm silence.
You Will Never Wait in the ER Again
Tufts Medical Center
Think of it as your ER OpenTable: At Tufts Medical Center, request an emergency-room appointment, then wait at home until summoned. Hospital staff will send updates by phone and email if they’re running late. Once you’re up, you’ll be treated within 15 minutes of arrival.