Finding yourself thrown in the midst of a medical crisis, whether your own or by the side of a loved one, can be overwhelming and even frightening to experience. There are some things you can do to make the situation a bit less stressful.
Prepare in advance
No one wants to think that they will have to deal with a medical emergency but it happens every day to people who are not prepared. It doesn’t have to take a tremendous amount of time to have a few things in place that could improve and speed the delivery of effective care. If you are on medications always have a list of current medications and dosages with you along with any pertinent health issues. The alska connected caregiving solution is a place where you can securely keep all of your health information and easily share it with whomever you choose. Also, list at least one but preferably two emergency contacts and their telephone numbers. Make sure your emergency contact person has this information as well.
Make allergies known
If you have any allergies make it clear by always wearing an allergy bracelet or some other visible indication that you are allergic. Even a food allergy is important for health professionals to know about as some treatments or tests may contain something you are allergic to. There may be a situation where you are unable to communicate an allergy to a health professional so it’s imperative this is known and visible. Allergies are another important piece of information that can be indicated in the alska connected caregiving solution so everyone is aware in an emergency.
Have advanced directives in place
Again, this is something many of us don’t want to think about but it’s important for your loved ones and the healthcare team to know what your wishes are in the event you are not able to express them. Honoring Choices is a wonderful resource that has a form you can fill out and share with designated loved ones or your chosen health proxy.
Be the squeaky wheel
It is alright to ask questions when you are in the hospital. Questions such as “when will I see the doctor”? or questions about testing procedures are important to ask. Non-health care professionals are often intimidated by the hospital simply because it is an unfamiliar environment. A great deal may be at stake so communication is extremely important. The health care team will appreciate that you are engaged in the process and it is their job to keep you informed and to explain what is happening.
Customer service matters in the hospital, too.
Just as customer service and courtesy are important at hotels or restaurants, it is also an expectation in health care, and hospitals are rewarded or penalized for their customer service. We all have bad days and yes, often healthcare workers are stretched thin but it is never alright to be treated in a condescending or disrespectful manner. Don’t ever accept a response of “that’s not my job” or “the doctor can’t talk to you.” You may not get answers immediately but you always have the right to speak to whoever is managing your care and they can be reached. If you receive a customer survey, by all means, fill it out because it does have an impact. If you are unhappy with the service ask to speak to a nursing manager or patient satisfaction liaison. You can also request a particular health care professional not to provide care to you or a loved one if you feel you are being treated inappropriately. On that same note, remember to acknowledge great care and customer service. Gratitude and recognition go a very long way as health care workers are some of the hardest working individuals in any industry. Most go into the field because of a desire to help and though it may seem small, a simple “thank you” can turn a day around for your care provider.