Tuesday, February 6, 2007

DAY 6: Healthcare minus the "care"

I had an incident yesteray that really got my blood pumping. It seems like everytime I have been in a hospital (personally or with a loved one), I end up feeling this way. Our health care system has gotten so caught up in low census/high census, productivity standards, billable time, reimbursement rates, etc. that it has forgotten the "care" component to healthcare. Lost compassion, and lost sight of the patient's perspective.

Let me just share with you what happened......

I was sitting in my cozy hospital room - the one that I am trying to get accustomed to as being my "new home" for a few months - the one that I have decorated with family photos, and my daughter's art - the one that I can look out the window and see my husband's office lights flicker at me - the one I have filled with bedrest multimedia and paraphanalia - the one I have made my "own", and a nurse pops her head in and blurts to another nurse "you know she's moving don't you?". My nurse looked a little surprised. Apparently, she was just hearing the news for the first time as well. I didn't realize it pertained to me at first, and then it dawned on me that she was talking about me. I sat up and said, "me? I'm moving?" and the tears began to well up.

This is where the staff lost compassion and lost sight of my perspective. I am a pregnant, hormonal woman who has been asked to leave her home and live in a hospital. I have no control over the situation. I have personal stuff everywhere that they are talking about piling on my bed and wheeling it down to another room. I have sent out emails to lots of people who are calling me on this phone. I was prepared for such a drastic change. What if I couldn't see Jonathan's office from my new room? What if someone calls and I don't answer? What if someone comes to visit and they can't find me? What if I just don't want to move?

All of these things were running through my head and I felt my blood pressure start to rise. Above all, I was pissed off because they didn't have the decency to tell me ahead of time. To prepare me. To ease the transition. To respect me.

My nurse sent someone in to talk to me, but she wasn't very helpful. She didn't seem genuine. Basically, she said this is just the way it is and we can't guarantee you won't be moved again. Welcome to bedrest.

Later on that evening, I did have a chance to share my feedback with the medical director. She was very professional, very genuine, and very apologetic. I felt validated. I felt my feelings had been acknowledged. I felt better.

So, my take home message now that I look back on the situation is just "be careful", "be compassionate", and "tread lightly around displaced, hormonal, pregnant women".

1 comment:

Matt Hiefield said...

AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!
I have the feeling that Ashley's story takes place thousands of times every day. There is a constant bustle, and there are goodhearted people who listen to concerns as well.

The easiest way to see the state of our health care system is to spend 2 hours in an emergency room lobby. Many people go there because they have waited too long to treat a minor ailment because they didn't have insurance and couldn't afford to pay the initial bill. Sitting in an emergency room a few year's back was one of the most depressing and eye opening experiences that I have had of late.

I am sure that Ashley will learn lots during her stay -- hopefully most of it will be positive.