Sunday, June 9, 2013

How to Make Your Hospital Stay More Comfortable

No one looks forward to a hospital stay but it doesn't have to be miserable and awful. There are some things you can do to make yourself feel more at home.

1. 1
If this is a planned hospital admission get your bag packed and ready beforehand. If this is an emergency admission then have a family member bring you essential items as soon as possible.
2. 2
Don't forget to bring in your medication bottles, prescription and over the counter both. Most hospital require this to get an accurate medication listing of what you are currently taking. Do not send your medication bottles home until your admission interview is completed after being assigned a room on a unit as it is needed not just for planned admissions, but emergency admissions as well. Yes, they will get a listing in the Emergency room, but the unit you are admitted to also has to see these medications, and if you have already sent them home or to the car, someone will have to bring them back in for you. If you do not have anyone with you to take these medications home, they can be locked up in a secured cabinet on the unit for you until discharge home or a family member comes in
3. 3
Bring your own pillow. There is no place like home and no bed like your own but bringing your own pillow to the hospital will help you get a better night's sleep. If you have any soft comfy throw or blanket this is a plus too. Hospital linens can be stiff, rough and uncomfortable.
4. 4
Bring a sweat proof thermos or large drinking glass with a lid. Nurses and staff can be very busy with the patient load they are taking care of so they may not always get that cup of ice or pitcher of water for you in a timely manner. Be prepared with your own large drinking thermos/mug. Also if you have anything in particular you like to drink such as soda, stash some of those in your room, but only if you are allowed to drink them.
5. 5
Bring books, computer, cell phone etc. so you can better keep in touch with your friends and loved ones. Nothing worse than being stuck in a hospital room with no contact with your friends and family. After all you can only watch so much TV without being bored to death. Don't forget your charger or AC adapters. *Remember to make sure these items are listed as being with you in the interview chart, especially cell phones and computer notebooks.* Sometimes things have a way of walking off or disappearing before you are discharged home.
6. 6 don't stock pile your room with tons of food. Nurses hate it when it looks like you have stockpiled your room with enough food and snacks to stay for 6 months. Have on hand some crackers or fruit, a few things to tide you over in case you get hungry in the evening or in between meals, but adhere to the diet your doctor has prescribed for you. It's a big no no to be sneaking in all kinds of junk food when you are on a diabetic or cardiac diet.
7. 7
Bring music. If you are a music person, nothing is more soothing and relaxing than to put your headphones in and close your eyes and relax. If you have an mp3 player or small radio bring it loaded with your favorite music, but again make sure it is noted on the chart that you have this equipment with you.
8. 8
Bring toiletries: body wash, tooth paste, comb, brush, shampoo, powder. Sure the hospital has soap, toothpaste, comb and toothbrush but these are such cheapo poor quality products. You will feel so much better using your own freshly smelling great products. Nothing makes you feel better when you are sick than getting a good shower/cleaning and smelling fresh.
9. 9
Pack a robe. No one wants their rear end shining when you go for a walk down the hall and sometimes you can't always wear your own comfy pajamas, especially if you have tubes, lines, and heart monitor on. Bring slippers or easy to slip on shoes. Some hospitals have non slip socks but these are one size fits hardly any one. It would be best not to walk on the hospital floors barefoot, as they can be quite germy.
10.                             10
Have a pad or notebook so you can write down any questions you have for doctors. They usually come flying in, speak fast and exit fast so be ready with any questions you may have, they don't like to linger around waiting for you to think of something you need to ask. There are the few that have that great bedside manner that make you feel like you are their only patient, but these are few and far between.
11.                             11
Use your call bell wisely. When your nurse comes in, ask her for anything you might need/want. It is not time wise for them when they go to a patient's room and spend 15 or 20 minutes in there and ask if there is anything else they need, then walk out of the room and 2 minutes later the same patient is calling out for something. Remember shift change. At most hospitals, shift change occurs around 630 to 730 am and pm. When you call out during this time it is not likely your needs are going to be met quickly because they are trying to give/get report on patients. Seems like everyone has to go to the bathroom or need pain medicine at this time, so try to do these things before or after this time, especially when usually things people call out for during this time are not an emergency or urgent matters.
12.                             12
Appreciate your caregivers. Nothing makes their work so enjoyable as a simple "thank you" from their patients/family members. Everyone likes to know that they are appreciated and not many people understand how much nurses give, emotionally and physically, every day to their patients. Make a note of the names of staff that seem to go out of their way to make you feel important, and well cared for, and comment this on the surveys sent to you in the mail seeking your comments about your stay at their facility
13.                             13
Hospital staff is required to check on patient's wellbeing every 1-2hrs daily & nightly while you are in the hospital. If you do not want to be disturbed when you are trying to rest or sleep, please make mention of this to the nursing staff caring for you during you stay.

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