Thursday, February 16, 2006

Top Ten Hospital Peeves

The school nurse sent me the information required for entry into the ninth grade. Part of that information required a current physical exam, on an approved form. The “health history” section MUST be completed and signed by the parent. I can not think of anything I dread more than the health history. When you have a special needs child, the health history is infinite. Most of the time I have to give the health history at the hospital, for each admission. My son is hospitalized a lot. It’s not just “one” health history that I have to give; I have to give a health history to every doctor, every resident, every nurse at every shift change. That’s a lot of history. So it got me thinking about my pet peeves as a caregiver at the hospital. I have limited it to ten.

10. Noisy nurses at night when you are trying to sleep.
9. Broken hospital chairs for parents to sleep on.
8. Failure of any hospital personnel to introduce themselves- This is not Cheers-everybody does not know your name.
7. Operational errors-We stayed at one hospital that only carried small and large diapers for children. My son was twelve and the large diapers were too big. This caused his diaper to leak every time he went to the bathroom which required more underpads, full bed changes and more hospital personnel (he required several people to help change him and roll him over). The cost for this error over the course of a day to this hospital was phenomenal.
6. Failure of nurses to know how to use a feeding tubes for meds.
5. Toilet Paper-Purchasing jumbo rolls the size of a 747 may be a good business practice on paper but I don’t enjoy tearing toilet paper sheet by sheet each and every time I use the washroom.
4. Bathrooms for Special Needs Patients-Most hospitals have handicapped bathrooms but placing a bench or a bed in there so I could change a special needs child would be helpful.
3. Covered Parking for the Handicapped-When I arrive at a facility, I need to have covered parking. I have to take the wheelchair out of the car and assemble it. I need to put some pieces on the ground. I need to take time to get the child out of the car and secured in the wheelchair. I can not do this when it is raining, snowing or any other weather conditions. If you want me to spend my health care dollars at your facility, I need to get in the building. How much money are we talking about? In 2004, my son’s billed charges were almost $400,000 dollars with 98% being spent at one hospital (we had six hospitalizations that year). That’s a lot of dollars for covered parking.
2. Medication errors-I can’t begin to tell you how many times in a hospital visit there are errors. They can range from giving the wrong medicine, the wrong strength, the wrong dose, a generic version of a brand name that doesn’t work or late meds.
1. Health History-I think I have given this at least a thousand times in his fourteen years. I would love it if they could keep an electronic version that I could simply read and update as needed upon each admission.


Carson said...

I've been very fortunate in my minimal hospital times, both as patient and caregiver, but your list rang true right down the line. (Even with brief health histories, you can't bet that the new person read the very thing that they need to know to treat effectively.) And my sister (an RN) would agree with you for most of them. She's the one who told me how important it was to Question Every Medication, Needle Stick, or Other Procedure.

I look forward to more from you.

may said...

i try to be quiet most of the times, but the brain occasionally plays trick on us. "we are at work, it must be daytime" it gets mixed up signals, and we forget people are actually trying to get some sleep. i apologize for times like those. it's okay to remind us to be quiet...

Kelly said...

I have the same pet-peeve about the resident/med history thing. I complained to our ped neuro about it ("Why are they always asking me if I know what a SEIZURE is ?!?! Arrgghhh!), and he told me to write it all down and just hand it to them every time I come in. That way, they get to learn, and I get to keep some of my sanity.

I also heard of something that seemingly does exactly what you are looking for

I'm gonna look into getting one...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

10) Nurses.
9) Doctors who play mariachi music while taking your pulse.
8) Doctors who yell at you when you don't want to give them the robe back.
7) How the robes only close halfway, making them obscenely rude in the outside world.
6) The color of the robes.
5) Doctors who try to hit on your mom.
4) How the women's bathrooms are always further than the men's.
3) How the men's bathrooms have hairdryers and we don't.
2) When they stupid nurses forget to put the mints under your pillow.
1) How the robes dont come with a matching hat and scarf.

PS. If anyone has any information on where I can purchase such robes for a decent price, and preferably in pesos, please leave a comment.

Tiffany said...

Oh, How I wish I had wrote this list! You nailed it in so many ways. I have always maintained that hospitals are not designed for patients, they are designed for those that work there. As a lung transplant patient, I had an oxygen tank and a very difficult time walking any distance. For every test I had to walk what seemed like miles to get to. Blood work, Xrays, Pulmonary Function Tests, and the clinic itself...I was exhausted by the time I had gotten in the front door. Thank you for this blog, it's wonderful. I would love it if you would check out mine!
Take Care and thanks again.

hospitals said...

I think "9. Broken hospital chairs for parents to sleep on." is very important and I alway sleep at the hospital when my son is sick.

hospital information

Irene said...

I am a mom of a severely disabled child. She is 4 and has been in the hospital many many times. Luckily, most of those visits were during her first year or two and they have slowed down a bit.

I wanted to mention that I finally started using a health history resume for her. It includes all her doctors with phone numbers, meds and doses, and hospitalization history. I actually haven't had to use it yet (thank GOD), but my mother in law uses one for herself and swears it saves her a ton of hassle.

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