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You land up in a hospital and you feel like you are in a maze. Do you have the correct information when you go in?
Did you know that communication breakdowns in hospitals in the U.S. led to more than 1700 deaths over a five year period? Maybe that does not sound like a big number, but it is if it happens to you. What if I told you, you need a medical team?
But let’s face it, in the trauma of being admitted, patients and family can easily become confused by the tons of information and instructions from these strangers.
That’s why Kati Kleber, BSN,RC, and CCRN and nationally certified critical care nurse in the neurosciences intensive care unit at Novant Presbyterian Medical Center pulled together information you need to know before it all comes crashing down and you become one of those 1700 plus victims.
It’s called “Admit One” with what you must know when going to the hospital, but no one actually tells you. From CNN to Dr. Oz Kati shared the insider information with me on POPPOFF.
1) BRING A LIST OF HOME MEDICATIONS. Know what medications you take on a regular basis. When you are admitted someone will ask you to provide a list of your med and will put them in your chart. Your attending doctor will decide which to keep you on in the hospital. On this one, I asked Kati if it’s a good idea to have a list of vitamins and herbs you take, and she said absolutely because of interactions.
2) MAKE A LIST OF HEALTH CARE TEAM MEMBERS. An extensive team of health professionals will come and go from your room. It’s hard to tell which is which…doc, nurse, consultant etc. You and your support person will want to write down who is who, along with their instructions.
3) KNOW YOUR CODE. Your code status informs staff what to do if you stop breathing or your heart stops. Patients without chronic health issues who aren’t nearing the end of their life may want health professionals to do everything to revive them. Others with terminals diagnosis or advanced age may choose not to be revived. This is called DNR or Do Not Resuscitate.
4) ASSIGN A SPOKESPERSON. Identify someone the hospital staff can call when changes occur. It is important this person can be easily reached and that you trust.
5) WRITE DOWN QUESTIONS AS YOU THINK OF THEM. Except for nurses, most team members stop by your room once a day, review your care plan, and make adjustments. It’s not easy to remember all your questions.
6) ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF. Let the nurse know of any changes in your condition so the information can be relayed to your health care team. Also, if for any reason, you are not happy with a member of your health care team, let your nurse know that you’d like to speak with a nurse manager.
7) LEAVE THE EQUIPMENT TO THE EXPERTS. Hospitals are full of elaborate, high-tech equipment. If any equipment becomes dislodged, always alert a nurse. Unfortunately, incidents have occurred where patients or family inflict irreparable harm when trying to fix things themselves.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, lots more in “Admit one.” You can also check out www.nurseeyeroll.com.
From the files of Mary Jane Popp at KAHI Radio in Sacramento, California
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