VA interviews Veterans across the country to improve their inpatient experience


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Pictured above: Bill Britt, an 85-year-old Army Veteran who served during the Korean War, and his wife Mae, 84, have traveled frequently giving the couple opportunity to visit several VA medical facilities.

VA is listening to Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors by interviewing Veterans across the country to learn more about their hospitalization experience. Veterans Experience Office teams are talking with Veterans and their families who are currently in an inpatient ward or have recently stayed overnight at a VA hospital, along with the VA staff members who assist with their hospitalization. The journey research includes multiple locations, including: Asheville, North Carolina; Marion, Illinois; San Francisco, California; and Dallas, Texas. The goal is to uncover those “moments that matter” and design solutions and tools to enhance the patient experience.

U.S. Army Veteran Bill Britt shares his inpatient experience with the Veterans Experience Office.

U.S. Army Veteran Bill Britt shares his inpatient experience with the Veterans Experience Office.

Bill Britt served for more than three years as an amphibious engineer in the U.S. Army, delivering supplies during the Korean War. He’s also a member of Veterans of Underage Military Service, enlisting at age 16. Mae, the daughter of a WWII Veteran, is a self-proclaimed “military brat” who grew up on base and uses ChampVA for her health care. The Britts’ son and son-in-law are also Veterans and use VA services.

“Our experience with the VA overall has been really good, but some facilities are better than others,” Mae said. “It was difficult to transfer my records from one VA to another and the housekeeping staff differ greatly from one hospital to the next,” her husband added.

As far as Bill’s current VA inpatient stay, he says his care “has been excellent. I’ve been here for three days and they keep us informed everyday of what is going on. I feel better and am hoping to go home soon. They have taken good care of me.”

What does that mean to VA? The Veteran’s experience differs, depending on the location. Some facilities employ best practices and others may not. So how do we align facilities to ensure a consistent, positive experience no matter the location? A journey map is the start.

With a completed journey map, tools and solutions can be created. VA’s Veterans Experience Office has taken best practices from across VA and private sector health care to create tool kits and templates that can be customized and implemented at all VA facilities. Those tool kits include “Own the Moment” Customer Service training, the Green Gloves initiative (addressing cleanliness), leadership rounding and the Red Coat Ambassador program. Along with technology improvements such as Vet360 and improving the ability to capture customer feedback, VA is listening and responding with positive change.

Once the hospitalization inpatient interviews are completed, a journey map will be created to assist in the development of tool kits and process improvements to improve hospital stays for Veterans.

VA is also interviewing the staff who care for Veterans during their inpatient stay.

VA is also interviewing the staff who care for Veterans during their inpatient stay.

“If our Veterans receive optimal care and should have to return to a hospital, we hope that they would choose VA. That’s what a positive patient experience means to me,” said Donna House, an associate chief nurse at the Marion, Illinois VA Medical Center.

Jeff Anderson served five years in the Army and three years in the National Guard. He suffered a stroke two years ago and was hospitalized at a VA facility in April. Anderson described his recent patient experience as “top notch.”

After his stroke he decided to relocate closer to his favorite VA facility.

“The nursing staff built a great rapport and dealt with my irritation, the other clinicians talked to me about all aspects of my care, spending lots of time with me before I was going to discharge and go home,” he said. “I don’t like hospitals or want to be in one, but I wouldn’t mind coming back to  VA.”

Thanks to the Britts, Anderson and hundreds of other Veterans, VA is better able to understand what matters most about their experience.

Learn more about the Veterans Experience Office at www.va.gov/ve

Author

Beth Lamb

Comments

  1. Notur Fn Biz    

    Bet you ONLY publish the “GOOD” stories because I know for a FACT there are HORROR stories from VA inpatients that you all would NEVER want the public to know about because it doesn’t fit your agenda… oh and I tried to post this ONE time and got a “wooooo stop slow down you’re posting too fast” which is baloney when I only posted ONE simple statement THEN it kept giving me WRONG CAPTCHA code error when I put in the CORRECT information …so yeah you do NOT want negative reviews

  2. TR MILLER    

    What a bunch of hoey! I had a sc-stroke. Parents took me out of hospital ER and drove me to the PORTVAMC STROKE CLINIC. But first: 1). Transferred records, 2). Called ahead and made arrangements. My 79 year old dad drove over 600 miles in ice and snow. Plus, was dragging my poor mom suffering from Parkinson’s along on this journey to save their son whom priorly served in the Marines. Arriving at the Portland VAMC ER, I was denied entry & Treatment. I got on a bus at Portland just after having a brain bleed. And rode home. The bus ride took 24 hours to get back. Thanks VA. I have 100% IU Rating, and now use Kaiser Permanente. They provide standardized care.

  3. Sharon Kay Erdely    

    Okay, this has nothing to do with the other comments but it has taken me from September- 2017 until the end of May
    to have implants and dental work at the VA. They only have one Dentist that does all the work for dentures and
    implants. Other doctors do the surgical part. It shouldn’t take this long to have dentures made. The work is
    being done at the Cleveland VA. I do appreciate the fact that I don’t have to pay.

    Also I have 2 knees that are giving me problems. The two doctors I saw in North Canton, OH have said they can’t
    help me. It’s not the implants that are bothering me. It’s under and around. I went to the VA once for help and I
    saw a black VA doctor shake his head no to the intern looking at my knees. Driving to Cleveland is a pain not
    for me but my husband who will be 75 in November. His right leg and foot are numb and he won’t see a doctor
    because of the way I’ve been treated. Emergency Rm doctor at Mercy Medical gave me inflammation for my knees
    and the Pharmacy listed the side effects. Can cause a heart attack, stroke, or death. I wish I could help you with the
    website but I’m not good at this

  4. Linda Lomastro    

    Husband and I both go to the VA in Providence, RI. We have had excellent experiences with the docs. The administrative can be erroneous and slow. Working with the new Veteran’s choice Program was horrible. Nice people, but they apparently are not knowledgeable with this new system. If the VA itself handled the Veteran’s Choice Program, it would be flawless. Problem is, the VA is military and follows protocol. Outsides are not used to this and it is messy. We love our VA.

  5. Linda Lomastro    

    Husband and I both go to the VA in Providence, RI. We have had excellent experiences with the docs. The administrative can be erroneous and slow. Working with the new Veteran’s choice Program was horrible. Nice people, but they apparently are not knowledgeable with this new system. If the VA itself handled the Veteran’s Choice Program, it would be flawless. Problem is, the VA is military and follows protocol. Outsides are not used to this and it is messy. We love our VA.

  6. James Bowden    

    What about the other Vets just trying to get help with medications? I want to know how many doctors are board certified by the AMA?

  7. Rhiannon Barrowman    

    I have a green colored card dated from 04/05/18 plus a stereotyped letter dated sometime around that date and then a post card sized reminder, and then a robotic voiced phone call 05/10/18 at 4:57pm and then at 4:28pm a human voice call. I have the post card sized reminder (and the letter somewhere maybe misplaced?) and robo call but another phone. I find that ridiculous! And very atypical aliopathic one size THAT doesn’t fit all care!! This is my 1 STAR REVIEW! Room for improvement but I’m not holding my breath on this!

    1. Rhiannon Barrowman    

      I don’t have Alzheimer’s and after sending a letter and a post card as reminders on top of the green colored card I find the additional phone call reminders a bit extranaous and unnecessary and so difficultly I’m seeing red hence the one star review. Seems to be very atypical of aliopathic medical care system which is one size that claims to fit all but fails to really fit all!

  8. Catherine Anne Bird    

    Sorry, Linda Lomastro, but the VA is NOT ‘military.’ It is U.S. GOVERNMENT (it is a federal government agency), and ENTIRELY different from the U.S. military (which is run by the Pentagon, under supervision of the President). Pay attention to your medical records, and watch how the VA changes them, to hide their own wrong-doing. Try to get every medical image, not merely the “notes” the VA claims they write describing them (which is B.S., the VA does NOT annotate any medical images; they just DESTROY them, especially when they prove medical malpractice at a VA facility).

    James Bowden, the VA does not require Board Certification of its doctors. In fact, it frowns on Board Cert., and hires doctors who’ve had Board actions taken against them (and even had their licenses to practice suspended/revoked) for malpractice.

    1. Eddie Sosebee    

      I totally agree.My wife’s records were falsified and when we tried to question them they immediately said it was hospital policy to destroy records so as to protect patient privacy.They are all a bunch of liars.

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