Alexandra Robbins wrote THE NURSES and offered readers of Everyday Health some tips.
1. Get a second opinion on surgery. As a nurse, she could not speak, but she says she thought 30% of her open-heart surgery patients did not need the operation--and were not told how much rehab they faced and how they might never be the same.
2. Appoint one spokesman for the family. Nurses have more time for the patient if they don't have to answer questions and fill in multiple people.
3. Avoid teaching hospitals in July.This is when the interns start laying hands on humans--stats show medication errors spike 10%.
4. Watch when a staff member enters the hospital room. Be sure they wash their hands or remind them to. Bring your own sanitizing wipes and wipe things off sometimes.
5. Do as much as you can for yourself and the patient. Bring your own food and bevs. Ask if you can help--maybe with tooth brushing, feeding or therapy.
6. Have end-of-life discussions early. Chest compressions break ribs, long times in the ICU poison the body. Know the facts. That chest shocking thing--works only in a small percentage of cases.
7. Have someone stay with the patient 16 hours a day. Try to get visitors to take turns.
8. Don't be afraid to ask questions.Don't worry about annoying or bothering a nurse or doctor. Avoid the word why--don't say why did you give him that medication...Say what does that medication do?
9. Be kind to your nurse. People who are nice get meds on time and maybe some other perks. Human nature.
10. Be patient--sometimes the nurse cannot answer the call light immediately.
Or--those beeping IVs--I hate to listen to those. Sometimes if you are sick or afraid or probably both, you can get cranky. I have. But try to think of the nurse's side. You will benefit.