Monday, June 21, 2010
On checking out
I have always thought that hospitals don't do the greatest job on checking people out as they do on checking you in. Its kind of the same with hotels. They are all very nice at the front desk and happy to help you and you are checked in with speed. Then when you check out, you get to wait in line by the guest who insists on analyzing every line item on their bill, disputing them one by one, and then finally its your turn.
When you arrive at a hospital, you get your hand held through surgery and post op and when you get to your room the nurse comes and makes sure you are doing okay. They get you settled in. After spending a few 'enjoyable' days stuck in a hospital room, the doctor finally says the magic words 'you can go home today'. Then the waiting starts. I have had more problems checking out of hospitals.
I have had the magic disappearing nurse - usually because they are with another patient. I am not in anyway saying nurses are negligent here. What I am saying is the checkout process needs to be reviewed and streamlined. I have had the doctor forget to sign the paper work. I have had to wait for a ride home as the check out time changed. It has always been a frustrating process.
Now it seems that this is finally reaching the news, here and here. Hospitals are examining their discharge or check out procedures. I think there are several areas that need to be reviewed (based on my vast experience). When a doctor is ready to discharge you, there should be a plan. They say you can go home and the nurse will be in shortly. Sometimes that can be hours later. Then they have to get paperwork and prescriptions for you to sign. There are post hospitalization instructions as well. You need someone, preferably your caregiver, to hear the nurse go through the instructions so you both understand what are warning signs to watch for and when is your follow up and what medications to take when.
Just because you are well enough to go home, doesn't mean you are well enough to remember instructions and think at the same time. Your only goal is to get home to your own bed where no one will come to check your vitals at 2 am or take blood at 5 am.
Enough of that, today I am excited. I am going to the beach again. This time with a friend. And it will be low tide. And it will be in the low 80s with low humidity and a few passing clouds. But I will do some work first. I will also have a little discussion with my back on how it is time for it to stop hurting. Yesterday it was most uncooperative and caused pain all day.