Guest Post: The Mother Standard® of Care at Cancer Treatment Centers of America®

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By: Christine Hill, Guest Experience Officer, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center

Every day I hear stories from both patients and stakeholders (our term for employees) about how they feel the presence of the Mother Standard of Care® at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA).

The Mother Standard is exactly what it sounds like: Stakeholders treat patients, caregivers and each other as if they were members of their own family.

Would it be OK if our dad had to wait days or even weeks to get a lab or scan result back from the doctor? Would it be OK if our sister had cancer and no one told her everything about her medical condition in terms that she could understand? Would it be OK if our brother did not know every treatment option available for his disease? Would it be OK if our mother did not feel compassionate care from every one of her care providers, including culinary, housekeeping, travel and the clinical team? No, it would not be OK, so why would we provide anything less for each guest who walks through our doors?

“People may not remember what you said or did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” This is a paraphrase of Maya Angelou and something I think about every day. At CTCA, we have an uncanny ability to read our patients and caregivers. We know when they need a smile, a hug or an escort to their next appointment. We know when they need a diversion from the cancer they are fighting and provide complementary outings to the zoo, an entertainment show, the local movie theater or a fun restaurant. We know when to talk to them, and we know when to just sit quietly and hold their hand. We know when to share a funny story and we know when to provide them with more information about their cancer.

I am always amazed when I hear that our patients feel the difference at CTCA. And I hear it over and over again, so I know it is not a fluke. Patients tell me, “I feel so hopeful here” and “I feel so safe here.” Music to my ears! Those are the two statements that I want to hear more than anything else and, thanks to my fellow stakeholders, I hear them often.

I am also amazed that more healthcare organizations do not do the easiest thing in the world to improve their service: Ask and listen to your customers! We do that all the time and in many different ways, with no retribution to anyone. It is the only way any service can improve. It is the only way any service can go from good to great. Ask your customers what they want or need, and listen to what they say. Once you are good at listening, you can take the next step and anticipate. You will get better at knowing what they want before they even know it.