What Is Lauren's List?

​Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:

  • Recognize the importance of caregivers introducing themselves to patients.
  • Discuss how the provider-patient relationship can benefit from clear, simple communication.
  • Explain how respect relates to delivering patient- and family-centered care. 

Description: When Lauren Sampson was only seven years old, she had already been hospitalized more than 50 times. With her mother, Sally, by her side, she had spent a large part of her life with health care professionals. The two watched teams of physicians barge into Lauren’s hospital room and pat her stomach because they were curious about her pancreatitis. They watched nurses deliver shots and say “This won’t hurt” when, in fact, it did. They watched all kinds of caregivers explain what was going to happen, but not explain who they were.

Frustrated with her care and the loss of control she experienced with each hospitalization, Lauren taped to the door of her hospital room a piece of paper that listed some requests for any caregiver who came to see her. In time, Lauren, Sally, and the hospital’s child life specialist refined the original list and changed the way those health care providers interacted with their patients.
Ultimately, with guidance from Sally, the hospital adopted Lauren’s idea to be used for all patients: it created a placard placed around the door handle to patients’ rooms that lists four simple instructions:
  • Please knock on my door
  • Please introduce yourself
  • Please explain why you are here
  • Please tell me if something might hurt

Sally, who is also featured in the IHI Open School course PFC 101: Dignity and Respect, offers her opinion on why providers aren’t more empathetic, discusses positive interactions during their many hospital visits, and shares some advice for future health care professionals.

Discussion Questions
  1. As a group, brainstorm at least two other bullet points you would add to Lauren’s list.
  2. Do you think health care providers have the time to deliver patient- and family-centered care? Why or why not?
  3. Have you ever been a patient in a hospital? What do you remember about the experience?
  4. Do you think you are a good listener? At work? At home? Why or why not?
  5. What unique challenges arise with a patient who is frequently in the hospital? 
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