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Leon Morgenstern, MD: 1919-2012

Leon Morgenstern, MD, a beloved colleague and the founding director of surgery for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, died Dec. 23 at his home in Malibu at age 93. A surgeon, scholar, humanist, medical researcher and prolific author, he remained active after his retirement and was working in his Cedars-Sinai office as recently as Dec. 21.

Cedars-Sinai is planning a memorial in his honor.

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Patient whiteboards see red ... and yellow and green

Cedars-Sinai is rolling out newly redesigned patient room whiteboards with color-coded sections designed to enhance patient care and help improve patient satisfaction.

White Board (PDF)

The boards currently are being installed in patient rooms across the medical center.

The new boards – now referred to as patient care boards – feature special sections on pain management and post-discharge care. Because patients experience and deal with pain differently from each other, the boards are designed with an individual approach in mind. A pain level chart in red, yellow and green allows the nursing team to record and monitor the patient's pain levels throughout the day, with the red section indicating high levels of pain and green indicating mild pain. Another section lists the medications prescribed to alleviate discomfort.

Patient preferences for alternative therapies for pain management, such as music, massage or a favorite pillow, can be listed as a quick reference for caregivers, family members and visitors.

"Our goal is to not only help make our patients feel more comfortable but to also engage them in their own pain management so that they feel more empowered," said Chris Ng, MD, a urologic surgeon and co-chair of the multidisciplinary Pain Management Task Force at Cedars-Sinai. "We also want patients to have appropriate expectations about how much pain they should be experiencing and to understand that while we want to safely minimize their pain, we don't want to over-medicate them."

The new patient care boards also feature a section called "My Road to Wellness," which was successfully piloted on 6NW as a test of change earlier this year.

"On 6NW, we saw a 45 percent reduction in readmissions and a 15 percent increase in patient satisfaction related to satisfaction with discharge instructions following the launch of the 'My Road to Wellness' boards on that unit," said Fozia Ferozali, MSN, EdD, nurse manager for 6NE, 6NW and 6ICU.

"My Road to Wellness" is a guide that helps the nursing staff ensure that patients and any family members understand the six major components of their care plan that will help them continue their recovery after discharge. These components include learning what medicines to take, what to eat, how much activity to do and when to see the doctor.

In patient rooms, the six components are indicated with red tags on the care board. As nurses educate patients on each one, the tags are reversed to a green tag to indicate completion.

"The wellness section encourages patients and family members to ask the healthcare team any questions they might have related to their wellness," Ferozali said. "These patient care boards are no longer just for staff member use. It is a powerful tool for patients to help them become more engaged in their plan of care and learn how to make their wellness path more successful."

Click the image below to see a video about the care boards.