a few things i left out

June 22, 2008 at 9:55 pm


I thought about what i said to you, over and over again, and decided i meant every single thing i said, plus more. I thought of some other things id like to share with you. Again, im speaking as a patient, a mom, and a nurse.

These are things i tell my own patients and their families…

1. [B]You are the boss[/B]. It is your body, your life. I work for you. The doctors work for you. The support staff works for you – not the other way around.

2. [B]Ask lots of questions [/B]and don’t give up until all of your questions are answered. By law, you have the right to know everything, to make informed decisions.

3. [B]You (or your DPOA) have the right to make your own decisions[/B], even to refuse care, as long as you fully understand the outcome of your decision. (So, your baby breathing on her own does not necessarily mean she is able to make her own decisions. She has to absolutely understand the impact of her decision, and any other options that are available). She also cannot be under the effects of any mind altering medications, like pain meds.

4. If you have any frustration or anger or fear, [B]speak up [/B](to staff). I will not know and i cannot help if i have not been made aware. As obvious as the issue might be to you, it may not be obvious to me.

5. [B]Say exactly what you mean[/B]. For example, you may say, “She looks uncomfortable”, and so the nurse repositions her in bed, gives her a sponge bath, or gets her up into a chair. You could get upset, thinking, “I told her she looked uncomfortable and she didnt give her any pain medicine”. So, speak literally and instead say, “I think she needs pain medicine. Can you give her some right now?” Seems simple, but really makes a huge difference in her care.

6. [B]About staying in her room after visiting hours[/B], each facility has different rules. Did they simply tell your kids that visiting hours were over? Or did your kids ask to stay and they were literally told they had to leave? If they made it clear that they wanted to stay and were still made to leave, then they need to ask why. Is it the flat out rule, without exceptions? Is it because she has a roommate? Is it because she (or a family member) has asked to limit visitation hours so she can get more rest? Is it because they only allow one person and there were both parents? Is there a lounge a couple doors down that they can sleep in and still be near to poke their heads in during the night and be back into the room early in the morning?

7. [B]About going to another facility[/B], im not sure what the military is like, but in my experience, ive had plenty of patients refuse to go to certain facilities. And, they are the boss. It caused me a bit of a mess, rearranging life-flights, doctors, admission, etc, but that is what they wanted, so that is why they got. People don’t refuse care for no reason. Like i tell them, my job is not to be your drill sergeant and force you to do what i want. My job is to help you make informed decisions about your care. Then, it is up to you to accept or refuse the plan of care.

8. [B]Realize that if someone is angry or being difficult, then most times, there is some need they have that has not been met. [/B] If you, your grandbaby, your kids, anyone is feeling gumpy, angry, irritable, etc., then dig deep for the root of the problem. Once you figure that out, then you can address the problem (most likely something to do with fear/frustration about your baby’s care), and everyone can feel better – your family and your health care team.

Ooh, gotta go. Kids need me. Take care! Good luck!