Boca Home Care Services offers suggestions on how to “humanize” yourself or loved one to hospital staff. Hospitals are busy places and staffs are often overworked or stressed. Not the best environment to be able to spend time to get to know a patient when tending to their medical needs. Feeling like a number isn’t as conducive to one’s wellbeing either. Make the staff “get to know who you are” by putting it out front for them.
Speaking with a colleague the other day, he shared with me what he did to help hospital staff get “to know” his mother in addition to treating her. What got him thinking about it was that both a nurse and the doctor repeatedly mispronounced her sir name and actually erred in using her first name. At the very least, a person should be addressed by name.
Hospitals, rehabs, hospices, and doctor offices are busy, stressful places, with many people doing important things. Time is limited, patients themselves come and go so the personal touch of “getting to know” the person in your care is ofttimes lost in the shuffle.
You or a loved one is in these places first and foremost to have your condition treated, stabilized or healed and then you are discharged. There are many people who come and go from your room; nurses, doctors, technicians, therapists, financial folks and cleaning crew. They have many people to see and huge responsibilities.
You as the patient are already out of your clothes in some type of unflattering, revealing sheet/gown, unwell, medicated, cold, under glaring lights, listening to all sorts of loud noises and possibly alone, confused scared or any combination thereof. HELP!
In order to try to restore some dignity to his mother’s hospital stay, my colleague wrote out on a legal pad a description of his mother as an actual woman with a life history – more than the Hip Fracture in 303-B. To his delight, he found that there was an immediate change. The staff caring for his mother began speaking to her in a more friendly way. Knowing some of her accomplishments and who she actually is as a person had a positive impact on them in an unexpected way. The nurses spoke of how it made them feel less stressed by knowing something other than medical information about the patient. More human warmth was detected as staff interacted more with a person they knew a bit more about, rather than just a set of ailments to be monitored and treated.
The notes on the legal pad provided the following:
Getting to know me….
My name is–spelled out phonetically (a foreign name in this case).
I’m from —-
I’m a retired —-
I have — children and —- grandchildren
My hobbies include —-
I used to be a dancer—–
I plan to —– when I get better and am home.
Thank you for all of your help. I appreciate it.
This was taped on her info board where it could be easily read. She became known as Mrs. — the dancer for the remainder of her hospital stay.
So simple really. So powerful. So helpful. We are all people intersecting in one another’s lives. A hospital and rehab stay is out of a medical/physical or health necessity. It isn’t particularly where someone “wants” to be. They are places of work for different staffs who all come together around a patient. It makes a huge, positive difference when that patient is seen as more of a person in full an not just a person with a diagnosis.
In Home Care, we are meeting the person in their home. We see thier knick knacks and tastes, photos on the wall and so forth. It is a more conducive setting to get to know the patient as a person. Caregivers, both medical and non-medical are usually with the patient for a longer period of time. It is very different from being in a hospital or rehab facility. We hope these small tips will help you and your family member should they be hospitalized. It is most beneficial to them and the staff.
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