Whenever a patient, whether or not the patient is a Senior, is admitted overnight to stay in a hospital, we recommend that someone else stay with them at all times to advocate for them, to be an observer/witness for what takes place, and to be there for them when they need help. This advocate can be a family member or friend, and when family or friends are not available, we recommend that the patient or the patient’s family have a professional caregiver stay with the patient in their room.
I recently was admitted for one night at one of our local hospitals following surgery earlier in the day. The surgery was successful and after a stay in the recovery room I was assigned to a room for one night for “monitoring”. Knowing what we know about this domain, we planned for my wife to stay with me and it was a good thing that she did.
I was only awake for brief periods of time but when I did wake up, it was usually because I had to go to the bathroom. The nurses on the floor had told me that I could not get up to go to the bathroom without their assistance, and so the first few times that I needed their help we called one of them using the call button. Each time, a nurse came in, took my request for assistance, promised to come back right away, and then left. Each time, after waiting an hour for them to come back, my wife assisted me and we did fine. After that, we didn’t bother asking for help.
If my wife hadn’t been there, I would have had a terrible night. Instead, I made it through the night with her help and I was discharged the next morning.
Now, this was at the “good” hospital in our area. I wouldn’t have agreed to stay at either of the other two local hospitals, because we some of our elderly clients have been discharged from those hospitals with MRSA infections that they acquired during their stays at those hospitals. These are so-called HAIs, Healthcare-Associated Infections; they are also called nosocomial infections which means infections that are the result of treatment in a hospital that are not secondary results of the patient’s original reason for hospitalization.
If you can have family or friends go with your parent for hospital stays, by all means do so. If not, please consider having a trustworthy home care company provide a caregiver to go with your parent, for the reasons that I’ve mentioned here. I will be going back for a second surgery and overnight admission next week, at the same hospital, and you can be sure that I’ll have someone going to stay with me in the room overnight again, to be my advocate and helper.
By the way, I am NOT an anti-medical-establishment person. In fact, I am very proud to say that my father is a retired family physician and I have a lot of trust in the health care system here in our country. I know from experience, though, that very often it is wise to have a person go with you as your advocate, helper and observer/witness when you are going to be incapacitated in a medical care setting (or any other setting, for that matter.)
Originally posted 2010-03-04 07:49:48.