The Patient’s Checklist by Elizabeth Bailey is the perfect book for people who are hospitalized or facing hospitalization and their family and friends. She has broken her book into 10 categories: Before You Go, What to Bring, During Your Stay, Master Medication List, Daily Medication Log, Daily Journal, Discharge Plan, Insurance, Doctor Contacts, and Family & Friends Contacts. Hospitals are overwhelming places made up of many different departments running on very high tech systems at an incredibly fast pace. People enter the hospital because they’re ill or must undergo tests or surgery. When they’re not at their best, they need to deal with procedures, doctors, medications, and sleeping in a not-so-comfortable bed. Completing the checklists in this book can help.
armed with the checklists in this book, an empowered patient will receive safe care
People with chronic kidney disease tend to be hospitalized more often than average and have learned the hard way that hospitals aren’t free from critical mistakes. It’s especially important that you and your loved ones know which medications you take and why you take them in order to avoid drug interactions or terrible side effects. As Bailey puts it, “A hospital patient, on average, is subject to one medication error per day.”Everyone wants patient-centered, quality hospital care. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen automatically; it does take a village and/or an advocate. Patients always need an advocate: a parent, friend, spouse, or child who acts on their behalf to help them get the care they need. Having someone else take a powerful proactive role helps keep patients safer. Passivity can be dangerous, and communication is key. Asking questions is essential so people can make informed decisions about their care.
It’s important to remember that although hospitals run around the clock, the staff doesn’t. Shift changes can be problematic. Day nurses should explain all relevant events and details to night nurses, but things sometimes fall through the cracks. Writing in a daily journal, or having a friend do so, is vital because documenting as much as possible can help the nurse or the doctor assess how well a particular treatment is working.
Hospitals provide medical treatment, but they rarely have time for comfort-related issues. True healing often comes from compassionate friends and family who are concerned with a patient’s quality of life. They observe how their loved one is eating or sleeping, what the mood and pain levels are, whether the room is clean, and whether nurses change their gloves, for example, and act on that information.
Bailey stresses that we must always remember the person first and the patient second. No one should be treated as a nameless body in a bed, but rather as a human being with thoughts and feelings. She hopes that armed with the checklists in this book, an empowered patient will receive safe care, administered with kindness, during his or her hospital stay.
About the Book Reviewer
Julie Glennon received a successful kidney transplant in 1999 after being diagnosed with both lupus and chronic kidney disease in 1988. She keeps active by volunteering with Renal Support Network and The Kidney Association of South Florida and where she lives with her husband Steve.
Article last updated July 16, 2013
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