Hospital Stay Realities
Most people automatically assume that your loved one is receiving the best care possible during their hospital stay. However, what many people may not realize is that the very staff that is responsible for the 24/7 care of your loved one is overworked, stressed and doing the job of more than one person.
When people ask me if they should stay with their loved one while they are in the hospital, I always answer “yes.” There is good reason to make sure that someone is always there through your loved one’s hospital stay.
Keep these statistics in mind:
- The Typical Hospital Shift for nurses & attendants is 12 hours – Being under-staffed and working long hours can increase the risk of error.
- There are 400,000 Medical Deaths Due to Errors in the U.S. each year – A recent study claims that deaths from medical errors are the third largest reason for death.
- Medication Errors Occur Often – While 98% of medication errors don’t usually lead to harm, the majority of errors are due to inaccurate dosage or from issues with medical devices and IV lines.
- Shift Changes Are Often The Highest Risk Time for Errors – Known as the “Portfolio Effect,” the early cases on the list get more attention than the last cases during a shift change. One shift is anxious to get off of work; while another shift is coming on and trying to take in a lot of information all at once, in a matter of very limited time.
Hospital staff are trying to do their best, often while tired and handling a large number of patients. Those who need more intense one-on-one care will be the first to receive attention. Your loved one, who may be there recovering and not in a life threatening position, may end up waiting for personal attendance unless they have someone with them during their hospital stay.
How To Help Your Loved One Have a Good Hospital Stay
It’s important that everyone knows and understands what is going on during a hospital stay. Help your senior parent or loved one have a safe and positive experience.
Know The Staff – Make it a point to meet the staff and always present you and your caregivers to them with a friendly smile.
List Medications – You should have a list of your loved one’s medications and a tablet to write down any new medications, when they are to be administered, and what they are for, as your physician adds or removes medications. Keep this list up to date with each medication being administered or removed.
Get Help – As much as you would like to be the only caregiver that stays with your loved one during their hospital stay, this is unrealistic. Having another set of eyes and ears, often that of a professional caregiver, can not only give you & your family a reprieve but help keep the stress levels down.
Your goal is to make sure that even a short hospital stay for your loved one is comfortable and as stress free as possible. The hospital staff are well-trained and very good at what they do; however, they are often working long and stressful hours. There is nothing wrong with making sure your loved one has constant care with them throughout their hospital stay.
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