SHREVEPORT, La. --- Things slip through the cracks. Companies are staffed by humans, and as such, mistakes happen. If an employee at a burger joint burns the fries, there’s really no true harm done. Unfortunately, in a healthcare venue, mistakes can be fatal.
Whether a patient in a hospital, or a resident in a care facility, both of which I’ve recently been--- here are some tips.
We have a responsibility to be active in our own care to every extent possible. One nurse, at the facility I just left, was training a new nurse. She told the newbie, “...and this guy, he’ll keep you straight. He is aware of every pill, every thing, he puts in his mouth!” And she is correct. Any medicine cup they handed me, I looked inside and made certain that it was for me. I caught a, minor, mistake that could potentially have caused a problem. Accidents happen. Nurses are very hard-working healthcare professionals. I’m unable to passively relinquish all aspects of my care to another human being. I must, and did, remain actively involved in my care.
Some people began to see me as a “... pain in the butt who stays on the light!” I am the patient. I have rights. If my insisting that I got the care to which I was entitled was a bother to my caregivers, or facility, that was not my problem. If assuring that I got everything I was paying for was a pain for them, oh, well.
1. Press the call-light to get refills on water and ice as you need them. In work of mine in facility care, we did rounds every two hours. In the last place I was in, people only came to assist me when I pressed the call button, or to deliver meal trays. I was under orders to drink more water, but the aides brought my cup filled with ice... But no water. Leaving me forced to wait some time for the ice to melt in order to take sips.
2. If an aide or orderly is causing physical discomfort, pain, or makes you uncomfortable in any way, report it to the charge nurse, who will do something about having that worker reassigned.
3. Professionals have dozens of patients/residents to tend to. Wait a reasonable time between summoning attention. I have given between fifteen and 45 minutes for someone to respond to me.
4. Program the ward clerk/nurses’ station number into your phone’s speed-dial. For whatever reason, an aide might be detained. In urgent situations, I was grateful to be able to call the desk. I never abused it, but used it when necessary. Don’t cry “Wolf”.
5. Ask for dietary accommodation. Your body tells you what you lack. Pay attention. It is often shown through cravings. Ask the dietary department to try to accommodate your needs.
Your loved one may not be able to self-monitor. Spend a day off, at their bedside, to see how they are cared for from sun up to sundown.
About the writer:
Marcinho Savant, a Shreveport/Bossier resident, is a former health care worker in both private-duty, and institutional care environments. He is an author, executive, entertainment expert, and nursing home survivor.
Words: 555 with Boilerplate
Marcinho Savant, a Shreve