Tag: right to know

Lessons Learned and Hospital Rules

I am back home. My trip was amazing and difficult. So glad I went and even gladder of all that we accomplished. That would be for another time, this is about what I learned while visiting. I am sure it will help others in the same circumstances, so I am sharing.

Hospitals, as we all know, are not the friendliest of places. They can be intimidating, scary, cold, detached in some ways. There are a lot of rules to follow. There are even rules made up along the way when someone is there for an extended period.

For everyone that has experience this, rules can help us and drive us crazy. We just need to decide what we take from them, how we can obey them and how we can tweak them a bit. Its only human nature, especially if we have someone dear to us in the hospital.

I spent almost all my waking hours for a week at the hospital with my friend. It was in more ways than one a bonding experience as I have seldom experienced. That is why, I feel I most share these observations.

First are visiting hours. How many people should be allowed in one room? How to control the level of noise? can visitors bring treats and share them? We came to visit, shared treats, laughs and tears. More than once, we were told to keep it quiet, but were not told to leave. At one point visits were restricted, but not completely forbidden.

Second, when doctors and nurses come in to see the patient…. who should be there? who has the right to know what is said and what is being done? Certain times are definitely private, there are moments the patient must be alone with the doctors and ask questions. Other times personal needs need to be attended to and privacy is most important. Still, at the end of the day, some patients will like a trusted friend or family member present when confronting the doctor with questions the answers of which they are no sure they want to hear.

Third, privacy is so important and relates to the above. It is controversial, I know, but not every patient needs complete isolation especially if visitors can bring much needed distraction, joy and that bond between friends and family that can be so helpful.

Fourth, how much is the patient told? Is it necessary to inform the patient of everything? would that affect the patient’s outlook or help in making decisions? Some patients want to ask the questions and stop when they feel they already know too much. Others just feel better knowing everything and making plans accordingly. Either way, the patient should decide, nobody else…not even the family or the doctor.

I know these rules are strictly enforced here in the States, but I found they are not so in other countries. I found the relaxation of the rules very helpful in this case. I cannot say if this would benefit everyone. So I guess I am open about them.

At the moment, all I have to say is that being flexible can mean so much to the patient….and isn’t that the ultimate goal? To have the patient relaxed, at peace, surrounded by people that truly love them? I am sure there will be many opinions about this, but all I am expressing is what I learned in my case. It made the whole experience with my friend so human, so wonderful.

She is now out of the hospital and even thought the diagnosis hasn’t changed, her body seems to have a will of its own. For that, we are more than grateful!!!

  • Photo Credits: 1- Nice Monkey – ID135548  
  • 2- Michal Wrozek – ID1488524