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Hospital Stay Cheat Sheet - From the Donna Yadrich Library of Unsolicited Wisdom

Audrey Yadrich Children's Hospital Colorado Children's Mercy Hospital comfort family and friends Family Caregiver grateful hospital KUMC Love Will Mayo Clinic National Jewish St. Mary's Hospital The University of Kansas Health System TUKUS University of Kansas Hospital

Innumerable days were spent in hospitals, in all actuality, years were spent in the hospital. Below are some things only time and experience can teach. Audrey stayed at St. Mary's Hospital/Mayo Clinic, Children's Hospital Colorado/National Jewish, Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, and pictured below is Audrey about 3-4 years old in The University of Kansas Hospital.Audrey about 4 years old on hospital bed with balloon and toys. AudreySpirit

  1. Start Planning for the Hospital Discharge from the Very Beginning
  • Get necessary notes and orders before anyone signs the discharge papers and you leave the hospital.
    • Start keeping a list of things you may need a doctor note for (because administratively speaking, you are in a bit of a limbo between the hospital discharge and a follow up appointment with your primary physician). Some examples are:
      • If the patient is a child, they may need a school note to limit physical activity, have unlimited bathroom access, extended time to complete school assignments, medication administration notes for the school nurse to give the new medicine or observe for side effects
      • If the patient is an employee, they may need a work release to return to duty
      • If the patient is an elderly person who may need help bathing, dressing or other activities, ask if home health care will be ordered/coordinated
  • To make the transition to home less stressful, take medication doses before leaving the hospital.
    • If you are expected to pick up a prescription from a pharmacy for a medication due 3 hours or less of leaving the hospital, ask the nurse if you can receive a scheduled dose of the medicine right before you leave the hospital. Even if it means staying an extra hour or two, you won’t have so much pressure to get someone home and get to a pharmacy before the next dose is needed.
  • Repurpose unused supplies.
    • Ask the nurse if you can take home any hospital room supplies (e.g. packages of gauze pads) the hospital would not use for another patient. (Even if you can’t use them, donate them to your humane society).
  • Request remaining pharmacy medications.
    • Ask your nurse if you could take home any remaining doses of your medications stored on the unit which would not be used for another patient e.g. your asthma inhaler, tube of ointment/cream, insulin pen or others. 
  1. Be Prepared and Empowered

Review the hospital’s documentation (usually in a 3-ring binder in the hospital room or on the hospital’s website) and identify contact information before it is necessary:

  • If You Feel the Patient’s Life Is in Imminent Danger

If you feel the patient’s life is in danger and not receiving the care needed, ask the nurse to call, or you call, the Rapid Response Team which provides emergency-level care.

  • If You Feel the Quality of Care is Unacceptable

If you feel the quality of the care is not appropriate, talk to your nurse, if the problem is not satisfactorily resolved, talk with the unit’s nurse manager, and/or the attending physician and ask them for a resolution. If you do not get an appropriate resolution, contact the Patient Advocate.

  1. Be Grateful

You’ve done your best to prepare for planned and unplanned hospital stays. Health care workers also do their best. Take the time to get to know them. Some of my dearest friends are the same people who professionally cared for Audrey, my father and mother, and Mike. I am grateful for their vocational dedication and also that my experience may help someone else.

 

 


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