Welfare, physical and psychological health, and a new step towards the future
Among the numerous developments that hospitals are constantly witnessing in order to meet the patients’ aspirations and provide them with the best service, hotel services have been at the core of these developments, whether in terms of hospital engineering or the quality and level of service provided. It is known that hospital hotel services (#Hospotel) are non-medical services provided by the hotel services department in the hospital to patients with the aim of improving the patient’s psychological and physical condition while improving the impression of the hospital services. The main motivation behind this qualitative step stems from the medical sector’s realization of the importance of the patient’s psychological comfort and its reflection in the improvement of his medical condition and his recovery. Arab hospitals have been introducing this development into their programs as part of their pioneering achievements.
In order to achieve these services in the best way possible, it is imperative to allocate a sufficient budget to improve the quality of these services, train new workers before assuming their duties, educate citizens on how to deal with hospital facilities, in addition to the hospital administrations’ attention, follow-up and monitoring of the quality of hotel services. The importance of this sector is that it opened the door to cooperation between hospitals and hotels on the one hand, and between hospitals and hotel service training schools in the hospital on the other hand. It also opens new job opportunities and, more importantly, leads to a better service for the patient, which is the ultimate goal of every hospital.
Diversity of services
Hospital hotel services (#Hospotel) are non-medical services provided by the hotel services department in the hospital to patients with the aim of improving the patient’s psychological and physical condition while improving the impression of the hospital services. The program provides a comprehensive definition, quality concepts, characteristics and methods of measurement. It also reviews hospitality departments and sections in hospitals, including the internal supervision department and food and beverage management. For example, workers in this field are trained to:
- Communication and information services, public services, as well as treatment and courtesy of employees
- The concept of hotel service quality in hospitals
- Dimensions and characteristics of hotel service quality
- How to improve the quality of hospital hotel services
- Methods of measuring hotel service quality SERVQUAL – SERVPERF
- Operational problems within the hospital hotel sector and how to overcome them
- Job description for employees working with internal supervision
- The SOP (Standard of Procedures) for the job tasks of internal supervision workers
- Cleanliness of public places, rooms and bathrooms
- Cleanliness of critical areas (operating rooms – intensive care, etc.)
- Food and beverage management in hospitals
- Job description for hospital food and beverage management personnel
- Health requirements that must be met in food preparation and processing premises
- Health control over food handling procedures (receipt – storage – preparation and processing – cooking – serving)
- Methods of food and beverage services in hospitals
- Room service
- Therapeutic nutrition and how to plan patient menus.
Hospital hotel services (#Hospotel) include many aspects, namely nutrition, cleaning and laundry services, entertainment and recreational areas, such as the hospital garden, as well as the courtesy of employees who are selected among the specialists in these services in hospitality schools. In addition, attention is paid to mattresses and furniture etc. to ensure patient comfort at all levels.
In order for these programs not to stop in light of the coronavirus pandemic, remote training is adopted, and lectures are interactive using the latest virtual classroom systems to implement a direct and fully interactive training process between the lecturer and the trainees. These lectures are recorded throughout the learning period in the training program until trainees can watch it again later after the end of the lecture.
The training program, as written in the certificate granted to the trainee: Quality Management in Hospital Hotel Services Course, discusses the hotel services provided to patients during their hospital stay in terms of quality and services available and missing from the perspective of patients benefiting from these services, in order to learn about patients’ satisfaction with the quality of these services.
A study conducted in this regard reached several results, namely that the level of quality of hotel services and satisfaction with them is a relative matter that varies from one person to another according to his gender, age, educational level, place of residence and other factors. The study contributed to the inclusion of new themes and elements for the quality of hotel services, including allocating a budget to improve the quality of hotel services, training new workers in hotel services before assuming their duties, educating citizens on how to deal with hospital facilities, in addition to the hospital administrations’ attention, follow-up and monitoring of the quality of hotel services.
The Development of Arab hospitals
The performance of the Hotel Services Department in any hospital depends on scientific methods and spreading a culture of quality among employees in order to move towards providing unique services to address the competitive challenges it faces in the market and reach success. This can only be achieved by providing high-quality services that are able to fulfill the patients’ needs and desires of patients in a way that is consistent with their expectations and achieves their satisfaction and happiness.
To achieve this, there are several departments that can be relied upon, including: the food education department, the food production department, the food service department, the housekeeping division, the public cleaning department, the laundry department, among others. The hotel service has become an integral part of the hospital health service, and Arab hospitals have begun to adopt these services, and are constantly developing them in a way that meets patients’ satisfaction. Many of these hospitals now have a unique hotel department that provides comfort and welfare for the patient and his family inside the hospital and throughout his stay.
For instance, the department representative welcomes the patient once he is admitted in the hospital, then takes him to his room, even if his health condition does not require him to be accompanied by paramedics; the representative makes sure that the patient is comfortable in it. Then, the kitchen receives instructions to deliver hot and healthy meals to the patient at their specified times. If a woman is going into labor, the department makes sure that the room is decorated and ready to welcome the newborn. The department is also keen – through room service employees – to keep the room clean in particular, and the hospital in general on a regular and continuous basis. As for any inquiries and remarks about the service, the department managers receive them and work to solve them immediately.
The program of hospital hotel services deals with the quality management of what the hospital provides to the patient. It aims to upgrade the participants’ experiences and provide them with the necessary skills and expertise to ensure quality in hospital hotel services.
Of course, hospitality department managers in Arab hospitals possess skills in leadership, communication with clients and solving everyday problems. These hospitals are spread across most Arab countries from the Arab Gulf to Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, as well as in a number of northern African countries. For these hospitals, hotel services have become an integral part of the health service therein, given the importance of providing psychological and physical comfort to the patient and improving his impression of the hospital services, which contributes to comprehensive quality in hospitals, improving the work environment and gaining customers’ trust, and then achieving excellence and distinction at the clinical and service levels.
Although the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic have made this matter difficult and has limited its speed, however, it is expected that they will witness a promising surge, and preparations for it have begun, whether by spending more, adopting favorable laws, or holding seminars and conferences that shed light on this topic and encourage it.
“Because the Arab countries have firmly launched the medical tourism revitalization, in terms of competition and patient attraction, which only occurs if the hospital provides top-notch service, this has pushed the process of converting hospitals into hospitals with hotel services”.