Tips for hospital patients

Sep. 28, 2013 @ 07:54 AM

No one enjoys being admitted to a hospital as a patient.  However, once you are there, you can do some things to make your stay more pleasant.  Here are a few: 

1. LIST OF MEDS. When going to the Emergency Room, bring a list of your meds.  Also, a short statement of your symptoms can be helpful.

2. A COMPANION. It is really helpful to have a family member or friend with you.

3. LITERACY. Hospitals have a pile of papers they have you sign.  It is impossible to read every paragraph, but try to have a general idea of the meaning of each paper.

4.   INFECTIONS. Make every effort to keep yourself clean, particularly your hands.  Don't be shy about reminding the staff to wash their hands or put on gloves.            

5. MEDICATION.   Pay attention to the meds that are prescribed for you -- what they are for, and how they should be taken.  Take a notebook for this and to list the names of doctors and their instructions.

6.   SPEAK UP. Let the staff know your wishes.  For instance, let them know if you feel you are ready to get out of the hospital, or if you feel you are not ready.

7. NOISY ROOMMATE.   You may be put in a room with a patient who is noisy or who snores loudly.  Ask for another room, and ask for earplugs.  In the meantime, ask if there are quiet places available, such as a conference room.

8. DRAWING BLOOD.   If the blood-drawing technician is downcast or angry, her mood will adversely affect the quality of her work.  Make positive, cheerful statements to her.  Pay attention to how she does her work. If she wipes antiseptic on your arm with only two quick wipes, beware.  This is careless.  Good blood drawers will wipe the area at least four times.

You can refuse a blood draw at any time.  After two failures, they must stop and get someone else.

In my case, I had so many medical problems that they prescribed multiple blood draws -- until both of my arms were covered with dark splotches.  So I said, "No more!  Period!”  They stopped.  This is not written in criticism, for many of the tests probably helped save my life. 

9. MOTION. Try to move as much as possible, if this is allowed.  Even if you are weak, do what you can.  If you are able to walk, do so.   If you cannot move your legs, move your arms.  If unable to move both legs and arms, move the head.

10.  FALLS. Pay attention when the staff cautions you about falling.  Many patients forget how illness saps your strength.   If you injure yourself, your problems will greatly increase.  Use your brain.  If you drop something and cannot reach it, do not hesitate to call for the nurse.  

11. SURGERY.   When going to an operation, ask for warm blankets.  Before an operation, make sure the site of surgery is marked and verified by the doctor.  

12.  VISITORS.   Do not hesitate to let the staff know if you do not want visitors.  Let your visitors know when they need to leave.

13. THANKFULNESS.   Even when you are in  pain and great misery, you can be thankful for the life you have lived up to that point.

14. UNIVERSALITY.   Some patients get overwhelmed by the pain and debilitation.  Don’t get lost in your own troubles.  When you are ill, you are one of millions of people that are suffering.   Many of them are suffering just as bad as you are – some of them are suffering far more than you.

15. THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT OF ILLNESS.   This is a very important area.  (See # 13 and # 14).   When you are sick, miserable and in pain, there may be a tendency to abandon the spiritual aspect of your condition.  This is understandable, yet do the best you can to hang on to your spiritual beliefs.  This may be the most important part of your experience.  If you cannot hold fast to your spiritual beliefs, – then, when times get better, embrace the spiritual life with gusto!   More than ever before!!