Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sick? Bring a friend

…Melinda Beck, writing in the WSJ, Oct 26, 2008, says a hospital patient needs not only visitors, but active help.

…This also applies to people not asked to help but who might be there when a patient’s IV stops up or needs changing or the patient needs other help of some sort.

…These days, with resistant infections ripping around hospitals, visitors or relatives can help with infection control, too.

…More often now, relatives are allowed to be in the room during procedures or emergencies.

…One woman, whose father had died from a heart transplant after doctors let him lie around all weekend waiting for evaluation, suggests:

…As the visitor, ask everyone who comes in the room if they have washed their hands.

…Ask nurses to read drug orders out loud and match them to the patient’s arm bracelet.

…Watch for pressure wounds (bedsores) and insist the patient be moved often.

…Bring a deck of cards—encourage the patient to use his or her brain.

…Keep a little notebook with your observations.

…Never give a patient medication on your own.

…Don’t help the patient in and out of bed.

…To these, HA would add: Try to be sure you are designated to get information about the patient under those dopey HIPAA laws. No one understands those and they are used right and left to keep relatives from interfering or helping.

…Also, if you cannot stay in the hospital, you may be able to hire a private duty nurse to watch over your relative. HA has done it.

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