There are certain things that individual can do to help make the hospital stay more pleasant and effective.
1. If you should need to use your call light please keep in mind that the nurses on the floor are very busy tending to the needs of other patients and the needs of staff and the physicians. Using the call light wisely is highly recommended. When using the call light please speak slowly and clearly, this will help keep miscommunication down to a minimum. Please take note that if you use the call light after 10 PM the staff will answer by coming to your room. This helps cut down on noise.
2. After calling on the call light please give time for staff to arrive and let the clerk who answers a call light know if this is an urgent or life-threatening situation.
3. When the nurse or other staff is in your room it is a good idea to try and get the most out of that visit. If possible have a few things you want taken care of written down.
4. Visiting hours. Most hospitals have scheduled visiting hours this is to ensure proper rest and treatment time for the individual patient's. Most hospitals also have a restriction or age limit of its visitors. Please help keep the noise level down by asking your visitors to speak quietly and calmly. Normally hospitals allowed 2 to 4 visitors in the room at any given time. Most hospitals do not allow pets. Certified pet therapy is available for persons who wish to have a visit.
5. Always ask for clarification if you are unsure of any treatment, diagnostic test or a diagnosis. It is also a good idea to frequently discuss your treatment plan with the physician and nurse. It is your right to stay informed and have input regarding your care. If you feel that this is not happening you may notify the charge nurse or nursing supervisor.
6. You have the right to have all medications prepared and opened at the bedside, with a few exceptions. You should have a clear understanding of each medication its properties, uses, and any potential side effects. Again, if you have any concerns or questions you may bring them to the attention of the physician, charge nurse or nursing supervisor. You also have the right to refuse any medications, treatments or tests.
7. You have the right to a second opinion at any time.
8. Case management of the hospital can assist you in understanding any medical insurance issues or questions you might have. The discharge planners can and will assist you in preparing for discharge to home or another facility.
9. Prior to any scheduled surgery or procedure is best to understand your limitations after coming home. This can include lack of mobility, lack of transportation, lack of adequate housing or the inability of fill any needed prescriptions. It is prudent to investigate this prior to your hospital stay.
Receiving a bill from the hospital is not a pleasant experience. These bills can be for a large amount, especially if you do not have insurance. There are some people that do not seek medical help for this reason. There are things one can do to help with this situation. If you receive a bill but cannot afford to pay it, do not ignore it. It will not go away. Here are some tips:
1. If you are admitted to the hospital and are either uninsured or have a large deductible, ask to speak with the finance department or the financial counselors on staff. Let them know your situation as early as possible. The can be very helpful. Some hospitals are non-profit companies and tend to have a charity fund to help patients who lack the appropriate funds to pay the medical expense.
2. Talk with the attending physician and express your concern regarding your funding issue. The Physician may be able to tailor a treatment plan which can tackle the most immediate concern first. Both you and the doctor can establish what would be an acceptable outcome and move on from there depending on your financial situation.
3. After the hospital stay you can contact the hospitals finance department and explain the situation regarding your ability to pay the entire bill. Most hospitals will work out a payment plan and they could possibly tap into their charity fund. But, it is a good idea to talk with them early before it goes to collections.
4. Ask for an itemized bill. While in the hospital, try to keep a journal of your stay if you can. You may be able to negotiate some of the items off it if you feel that it is not correct.
5. Bring your medications with you. Some hospitals will allow you to take your own meds. This will have to be okay with your attending physician and checked by the pharmacy. The pharmacy will look over your meds and make sure that they (meds) are the right ones. It is a good Idea to bring them in their own respective containers or bottles that were provided by your pharmacist. This will make it easier for the hospital pharmacy to identify. Make sure that if the physician does okay for you to take your own meds that it is reflected on the medication administration sheet in your inpatient record (chart).
It is easy to suffer a fall in the hospital. This can be caused by disorientation, medications, weakness, dizziness and not being familiar with the new surroundings. If you feel unsure about your footing when getting out of bed while in the hospital, speak up and ask for help from the staff. They will be very willing to help since there is a nationwide initiative to cut down on patient falls. If you have a loved one in the hospital who you feel might be prone to falls a family member might be able to stay with them at night in the room. Some hospitals have become more accommodating to family members who wish to stay the night in the room. Express your concerns to the physician and charge nurse.
If you see anything that might cause harm to others such as frayed cords, sharp objects, unattended syringes or medications, bring it to the attention of the staff and possibly a supervisor.
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