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Conduits to care: call lights and patients’ perceptions of communication

Authors Montie M, Shuman C, Galinato J, Patak L, Anderson CA, Titler MG

Received 24 June 2017

Accepted for publication 8 August 2017

Published 18 September 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 359—366

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S144152

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Mary Montie,1 Clayton Shuman,1 Jose Galinato,1 Lance Patak,2 Christine A Anderson,1 Marita G Titler1

1Department of Systems, Populations, and Leadership, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA, USA

Background:
Call light systems remain the primary means of hospitalized patients to initiate communication with their health care providers. Although there is vast amounts of literature discussing patient communication with their health care providers, few studies have explored patients’ perceptions concerning call light use and communication. The specific aim of this study was to solicit patients’ perceptions regarding their call light use and communication with nursing staff.
Methods: Patients invited to this study met the following inclusion criteria: proficient in English, been hospitalized for at least 24 hours, aged ≥21 years, and able to communicate verbally (eg, not intubated). Thirty participants provided written informed consent, were enrolled in the study, and completed interviews.
Results: Using qualitative descriptive methods, five major themes emerged from patients’ perceptions (namely; establishing connectivity, participant safety concerns, no separation: health care and the call light device, issues with the current call light, and participants’ perceptions of “nurse work”). Multiple minor themes supported these major themes. Data analysis utilized the constant comparative methods of Glaser and Strauss.
Discussion: Findings from this study extend the knowledge of patients’ understanding of not only why inconsistencies occur between the call light and their nurses, but also why the call light is more than merely a device to initiate communication; rather, it is a direct conduit to their health care and its delivery.

Keywords: nurse–patient communication, medical technology, quality of care, qualitative research, patient safety, nurse work

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