Mystery Patients

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    This was in a short sidebar in this month's Nursing 2006. I didn't see this posted elsewhere here yet, so if it's a duplicate, I apologize. Since it's in a print magazine I can't provide a link.

    It appears the hospitals and LTCs can now hire "mystery patients" who report on the treatment they receive.

    According to the article, "...mystery patients pursue care up until an invasive procedure is recommended and report on both positive and negative aspects of the experience."

    The companies cited as providing this service is called Devon Hill Associated of LaJolla, CA and Examine Your Practice in Las Vegas.

    Incredible. Talk about a waste of resources.

    Added: I found a link that was the source for the article. It's from NurseZone.com:

    NurseZone - On the job - Nursing news - Archive
    Last edit by Katnip on Dec 7, '06
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I don't think it's a waste of resources. When you talk about all the elder abuse and neglect that happens. Now what really needs to come out is WHY these places provide the care or lack of care that they do. Is is because of budgets? Are the staff overworked?

    My elderly aunt was in a nursing home and I would get very upset when she would ring for something important and all the staff was chitchatting at the med cart or sitting in the break room. I realize the staff get breaks, but I know from experiene they don't get them all at the same time.

    I do think that most of the staff is underpaid (aides and such) but they also signed on to do a job and I was taught that if you accept a position you do the best job you can. That is what you are being paid for. If you have time to do nothing then most likely you're not doing your job.

    It's exactly the same as mystery shopping. They're making sure that the "customers" are being taken care of properly.
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    Quote from mom23RN
    I don't think it's a waste of resources. When you talk about all the elder abuse and neglect that happens. Now what really needs to come out is WHY these places provide the care or lack of care that they do. Is is because of budgets? Are the staff overworked?

    My elderly aunt was in a nursing home and I would get very upset when she would ring for something important and all the staff was chitchatting at the med cart or sitting in the break room. I realize the staff get breaks, but I know from experiene they don't get them all at the same time.

    I do think that most of the staff is underpaid (aides and such) but they also signed on to do a job and I was taught that if you accept a position you do the best job you can. That is what you are being paid for. If you have time to do nothing then most likely you're not doing your job.

    It's exactly the same as mystery shopping. They're making sure that the "customers" are being taken care of properly.
    I'm right with you.... as long as they get to the "root cause" and not just pick on some frantically-overworked staff.
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    think this is more acute care......since most LTC patients come in from hosp, would be harder to fake.....and for the most part it would be a waste either way.....the needs are known, just not acknowledged
  7. 0
    if this is a way to improve patient care and get rid of the dead wood then i, for one, am for it
  8. 0
    I have heard of this and I can see both the good and the bad with it. I think it's a good idea in order to try and catch the ones who aren't taking care of the patients the way they should and who may be false charting. On the negative side, half the time, we are understaffed. If these mystery patients only ask for things that are really needed or just to observe how nurses/aides interact with patients, that's fine. But if they come in and constantly are calling for something just to see how long a patient has to wait or whatever, I think it's wasting time that a nurse could better spend with a real patient with real needs. Also, most of the times our beds are full or soon will be. So if these mystery patients are taking up a bed that someone else really needs, that's a shame!
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    HA! This reminds me of a case-study I read about in college.

    An experiment was conducted where several college students got themselves purposely admitted, as an experiment, to in-patient health-care facilities (mental), and they were admitted for no other reason than they said they were "hearing voices". They were all healthy.

    Part of the experiment, was that after admission, the students said that the voices "went away" and they no longer heard them....and after one week they told their therapists that they were there for an experiment, that they didn't really hear voices and was requesting discharge...part of the experiment was to see how long they would stay until they were discharged.

    Guess who were the first people to notice the student "patients" were normal.....the other psych ward patients. THAT'S SCARY!

    I think the students spent anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months in the facility and one facility had a psychiatrist that was trying to get a court-order to keep him there before the professor conducting the experiment had to call authorities and verify that the student was in-fact, telling the truth.
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    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    HA! This reminds me of a case-study I read about in college.

    An experiment was conducted where several college students got themselves purposely admitted, as an experiment, to in-patient health-care facilities (mental), and they were admitted for no other reason than they said they were "hearing voices". They were all healthy.

    Part of the experiment, was that after admission, the students said that the voices "went away" and they no longer heard them....and after one week they told their therapists that they were there for an experiment, that they didn't really hear voices and was requesting discharge...part of the experiment was to see how long they would stay until they were discharged.

    Guess who were the first people to notice the student "patients" were normal.....the other psych ward patients. THAT'S SCARY!

    I think the students spent anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months in the facility and one facility had a psychiatrist that was trying to get a court-order to keep him there before the professor conducting the experiment had to call authorities and verify that the student was in-fact, telling the truth.

    Interesting! And after working at this hospital for five months now, I can tell you that I TOTALLY believe it. There are patients here that the staff will swear up and down, do NOT need to be here, but it just seems like the docs will keep them and keep them and keep them... Now the part about the psych patients being able to tell that the students were normal... that is truly fascinating.
  11. 0
    The only problem I have w/this,..is that the focus is on "non medical" care,..it is very frustrating for someone to complain about the food, or how long it took to get that extra warm blanket, but they often have no idea that I noticed the pauses on the monitor and called the Dr to have meds changed, or noticed the subtle rales, the decrease in output, the slight swelling of the feet,...called the Dr to get an extra dose of Lasix before things got really bad,..they don't realize that I titrated their Cardizem gtt, changing the rate 12 times durring my shift according to my assessment, or noticed the fact that their accu checks have been >200 the last 5 times so called the Dr to have changes made w/diabetic meds,..(all things our cutomer service reps did not/could not do!)...It isn't that I think these other things aren't important,...but they aren't always a priority and should be the responsibility of someone other than the nurse.

    I posted to another thread that my evaluation is now based on %60 customer service and only %40 on technical skills and nursing performance,..again that is insulting,..aaarrggghhhhhh,..I won't go off on my "World Class Customer Service" tirade,.......I won't,.I will breath instead :smackingf
  12. 0
    Totally agree with the poster above. How can a lay person with no nursing experience judge your nursing skills? They can't. If facilities were genuine about improving "customer service", they would HIRE ENOUGH STAFF to enable people to go "the extra mile" for patients.


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