Since the concept of patient-centered care is increasingly emphasized in today’s healthcare environment, responding to patient feedback, grievances, and complaints are very important. Under this patient care model, patients have the right to file complaints and grievances if they are not satisfied with the health services received (Kaplan, 2014). Healthcare organizations are legally obliged to comply with federal regulations and Joint Commission standards while dealing with patient grievances and complaints (Dearmon, n.d.). This is inevitable for nurses to promote patient safety and to reduce their liability risk. Generally, patient grievances may be about unmet care expectations, offensive staff behavior, immediate discharges, compromising of confidentiality, treatment without informed consent, or any other unethical healthcare practice (ECRI Institute, 2010). According to Duxbury and Wittington (2005), addressing grievances involves difficult tasks as patients’ grievances can be different. An inexperienced nurse cannot easily handle the situation as there may not be a particular procedure for dealing with each type of patient grievances. As Devers, Pham and Liu point out (2004), even experienced nursing staff are not completely informed of the regulations and standards set by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Joint Commission, and other government entities. Hence they become confused when they are required to handle situations of patient grievances. Generally patients may not be familiar with the grievance process, and therefore it is the duty of the nursing staff to assist clients to file their grievances. According to O’Daniel and Rosenstein (2008), good communication is the key to the effective execution of the grievance process because proper communication will avoid misunderstanding, and hence will ...
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