CARES™ Connect for Better Patient Communication

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Today we are teaming up with Professional Research Consultants (PRC) to bring you an informative podcast interview with Kathleen Lynam about CARES™ Connect. Kathleen describes the elements of an effective discharge solution in this latest episode of Healthcare Experience Matters.

Kathleen is an Executive Coach and Senior Advisor with Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF). She is a registered nurse with decades of both clinical and managerial experience. 

There are many risks to both patients and hospitals when it comes to a poor discharge experience. 

As Kathleen discusses with us today, the primary risks relate to patient safety and the inability to understand post-discharge instructions. Most alarming of all risks would be a patient sent home with medication they do not understand, Kathleen told us.

“A poor discharge experience can reduce the opportunity for a patient to ask questions or clarify concerns, and the risk of readmission that might occur because of that is probably the biggest challenge,” Kathleen said.

Kathleen challenges us to remember the last impression we have had with an experience at a restaurant, hotel, or resort. She reminds us that the last part of that experience is what we remember most.

The final impression can make or break the way we remember a dining experience or vacation—and it is no different when we reflect on the final moments of our experience with a hospital.

Discharging patients in the time of COVID-19 can be especially complicated. The extra layers of gowns and masks can become additional barriers to proper communication, and more so then ever patients are without family while being cared for. 

All of this makes paying extra close attention to the discharge process even more important. According to Kathleen, preparing for discharge should happen the minute the patient is first admitted.

“With COVID, many patients are alone and anxious to leave, yet unable to listen and understand all their instructions, so there’s an opportunity for a negative outcome to happen even after a perfectly good patient experience,” Kathleen said.

Discharge communication often falls flat. Thorough communication with patients is hard work. It’s a struggle that many hospitals around the world find themselves constantly trying to improve. 

“Communication flaws are probably the number one challenge we have in healthcare,” Kathleen said. “There are tremendous opportunities for breakdowns in communication to happen in all of the patient experience, and certainly that’s true when they’re getting ready to go home.”

Having a systematic approach to your discharge communications can make a major difference. When it is done properly, effective discharge communication has plenty of benefits for everyone. These advantages include:

  • Better patient outcomes.
  • Less hospitalizations.
  • Quicker healing.
  • Improved loyalty/appreciation to the hospital they were discharged from.
  • Like so many other aspects of the patient experience, empathy plays a major role in effective discharge communication. 

    “I believe empathy is the foundation of a great patient experience,” Kathleen said.

    “We know that during a hospital stay, the most important factors for a patient is that they feel like they were listened to, and cared for, and that means the people caring for them have to be empathic.”

    Ready to Learn More?

    Listen to today’s interview in its entirety here:

    Learn about getting a CARES™ Connect demo from PRC, and for more information on upcoming events, webinars, and resources from PRC, please visit:

    Ready to learn even more about CARES™ Connect? The Healthcare Experience Academy has a CARES™ Connect course that is now available.  You can check it out here:

    For those that may be interested in more podcast episodes with Kathleen, you can check out the following:

  • Empathy and Communication for Better Patient Experiences 
  • Practicing Mindfulness for Better Patient Experiences 
  • More COVID? More than I Can Take? 
  • Safer Transitions: Closing Discharge Gaps with CARES™ Connect
  • For more podcast episodes of Healthcare Experience Matters, you can subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

    More HX Matters Podcasts

    Our podcast is dedicated to transforming the health care experience so that every person can receive and deliver the best care.

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    Meet Kathleen Lynam, RN, MPA

    Today, Kathleen Lynam brings extensive clinical, operational, and executive level experience in both small and large healthcare organizations across the country to her role as Executive Coach. But Kathleen is so much more than a coach. She is a national speaker, presenter and champion for patient care. Before stepping into the world of healthcare administration and, specifically, coaching, Kathleen spent over 40 years as a front-line nurse and Chief Nursing Officer at various medical centers and hospitals systems throughout New Jersey and New York. She knows what strong teams look and act like, having served in various leadership and coaching positions for large healthcare systems like Duke University Health System in Raleigh, Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York as well as urban hospitals and community medical centers in the Bronx and Queens.

    Now, with over 40 years of diverse experience in healthcare management, Kathleen is acutely aware of the power of positive patient care experiences on not just administrators seeking to improve outcomes, but also nursing teams working to make a difference in the lives of their patients.

    Whether it’s working side-by-side to help front-line nurses and teams uncover different ways to wow patients and families, or working side-by-side with CEOs and CMOs of hospitals to solicit authentic feedback from members of their teams, Kathleen’s greatest delight is empowering healthcare teams with an engaging, hands-on approach that helps both organizations and individuals thrive.

    Kathleen is a respected executive coach who has worked with organizations across the country to achieve results through embracing a culture of “every patient every time.” She has authored numerous articles on patient-centered communication, physician engagement and coaching, and has been a featured writer and speaker for notable organizations and publications such as PX Advisor Magazine, The Beryl Institute, Duke University, Dominical College School of Nursing, AACP, and the Society of Healthcare Pharmacists.

    Connect with Kathleen Lynam, RN, MPA
    More episodes with Kathleen Lynam, RN, MPA