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Communication Tools

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One of the major barriers to coordinated and effective care in dialysis units is poor communication between:

  • Patients and clinic staff.
  • Nephrologists and primary care physicians.

Open lines of communication enhance patients':

  • Satisfaction and experience of care.
  • Adherence to treatment protocols, including:
    • Medication regimens.
    • Dietary restrictions.
    • Dialysis schedules.
  • Ability to self-manage their chronic condition.
  • Adoption of preventive behaviors, including.
    • Getting immunizations.
    • Infection control practices, including hand and vascular access washing.

Staff's ability and willingness to listen and empathize can have a profound effect on patients' health outcomes and the provision of quality of care.

Keep watch here as the  Network adds tools  to help improve communications in your facility.

Improving Communication Tools

We're Not Being Nosy—We Care! is short tool to remind patients of the different situations in which they need to update their care team and facility. It is available in:

English
Spanish

Staff Communication Patient Audit Tool (PDF) and Materials—This audit tool and supporting materials can be used to receive feedback from in-center hemodialysis patients regarding how and when staff are communicating with them before, during and after treatment. This easy to implement quality improvement activity can be used to identify areas for better staff and patient communication on the treatment floor and to enhance patient engagement and the experience of care.  

Addressing Abusive Behaviors in the Dialysis Center

This document takes a look at the underlying causes of conflict that could possibly lead to abusive behaviors and provides some suggestions on how to avoid or deal with difficult situations.

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Communication Tips for Earning a Win

This one-page document is for use with both patients and staff. It stresses that we are all on the same team and provides simple tips for communicating better.

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Dialysis Schedules: Tips for Patients and Staff

Scheduling issues are a common source of frustration for dialysis patients and staff.This document addresses what you can do to help keep your dialysis schedule running as on time as possible.

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Dialysis Schedules: Tips for Patients and Staff (Spanish)

Scheduling issues are a common source of frustration for dialysis patients and staff.This document addresses what you can do to help keep your dialysis schedule running as on time as possible.

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Good Relationships With Your Clinic Staff

This resource is intended for both patients and staff. You spend a lot of time together, so good relationships with your dialysis staff are important to you and to them. All people want to feel safe, respected, and trusted when working together. One way to do this is by setting "healthy boundaries." This resource discusses what boundaries are, what they do, why they are important, and what to do if a boundary ever gets violated.

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Good Relationships With Your Clinic Staff (Spanish)

This resource is intended for both patients and staff. You spend a lot of time together, so good relationships with your dialysis staff are important to you and to them. All people want to feel safe, respected, and trusted when working together. One way to do this is by setting "healthy boundaries." This resource discusses what boundaries are, what they do, why they are important, and what to do if a boundary ever gets violated.

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Huddle Up to Improve Communication

Click here to access Huddle Up to Improve Communication, an interactive communication team activity for dealing with conflict.

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Professionalism from the Patient's Point of View

Why is it so important for dialysis clinic staff to act professionally? The best people to answer that question are dialysis patients. In this video, dialysis patients from across the United States come together to share their experiences, their expertise, and some helpful tools regarding...

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Improving Communication

The tools and articles found here can be used by staff to improve communications in difficult situations.

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Medical Records Request Forms

Use this form that requires facility medical director signature to request blood culrure results and other medical records for your patients. Fillable Non-Fillable

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Network 15 Decreasing Patient Conflict Tip Sheet

This four-page tip sheet provides a comprehensive overview of how to decrease dialysis patient—provider conflict  by assessing facility culture and policies to better understand the causes of patient—provider conflict at the facility level.

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Nothing About Me without Me: Including Patients in QAPI and Governing Body Meetings

The Department of Health and Human Services National Quality Strategy’s new focus on better care for the individual through beneficiary- and family-centered care involves working with patients rather than doing to or for patients. Such partnerships are mutually beneficial to the patients and the facility. Involving patients in your facility’s Quality Assurance & Performance Improvement (QAPI) and/or Governing Body meetings can be an effective means of engagement and partnership. This document can help you get started.

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Patient Experience and Empathy

Facility staff may find the following videos to be helpful in working through difficult situations with patients:

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Professionalism and the Patient Experience Training Webinar

This presentation web recording demonstrate how professional behavior by clinic staff impacts the patient experience. It includes professional behaviors that direct care staff can learn and demonstrate in the dialysis clinic to create a positive treatment experience for patients and help prevent grievances. (Duration: 21 minutes)

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Retaliation

These resources can be used to educate patients and staff regarding building a culture of safety in which patients do not fear retaliation.

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Staff Communication Patient Audit Tool

This Staff Communication Patient Audit Tool (PDF) and Materials—This audit tool and supporting materials can be used to receive feedback from in-center hemodialysis patients regarding how and when staff are communicating with them before, during and after treatment. This easy to implement...

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Tips from the HSAG: ESRD Network 15 PAC: Mindful Patient-Staff Engagement

This patient-developed document provides short, simple suggestions to facility staff on how to best engage  and communicate with patients, including:

  • Showing respect.
  • Being sensitive to patients' feelings and preferences.
  • Using two-way communication tactics.
  • Being professional.
  • Working collaboratively.
  • Establishing mutual trust.

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Tips to Improve Patient Engagement

These tips can assist your staff in establishing the genuine engagement with patients that is essential in the provision of high quality healthcare and achieving improved healthcare outcomes.

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Vital Signs—Something's Missing

Use this one page document with patients. It helps to create a culture of safety and encourages patients to express how they feel about their treatment experience. 

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