By the time you’ve hit your fifth surgery, you are very familiar with various hospital settings and procedures. Emotions are high and loved ones are scared and stressed. You also realize that so many things can go wrong very quickly and you need to have a dedicated, knowledgeable, well-trained patient safety advocate with you in order to facilitate your personal care by asking pertinent questions. Errors and miscommunication occur often and my Pulse Patient Safety Advocate, had the forethought to ask, with my prearranged permission questions to each and every doctor and nurse who saw me about many things such as the next steps, the procedure, the current care, and the after care.
Though I had my two daughters with me, the nurses in pre-op wanted them to step outside of the room. When I was alone in the pre-op room, I witnessed another patient who was alone become so anxious and agitated that she chose to leave regardless of the nurses’ pleas for her to stay and complete her surgery. I started to feel like that patient, alone, helpless, scared, and ready to back out of my own surgery. That was when my patient safety advocate stepped in and let me know my rights as a patient and asked me directly within earshot of the staff, “Lisa, do you want us here?”, to which I responded yes, which put me back in control of my care. The nurses allowed my two daughters and my patient safety advocate to stay, calming my fears. Though the staff had previously vocalized their preference for visitors to leave, I was able to have my two daughters and my patient safety advocate next to me for emotional support. Due to my patient safety advocate’s knowledge of my rights, I was able to be encircled by loved ones, thus reducing my anxiety and apprehension.
In pre-op, my doctors, (five altogether) including my surgeons came to visit one at a time. Each one had their hospital identification on them and donned their hospital gear. One, however, came in wearing casual clothes. When my patient safety advocate asked him for identification before he continued to talk to me about my surgery, he realized he had left his wallet with his identification in his car and excused himself to go get it. He returned apologetically and in a more professional manner, with his identification.
My patient safety advocate improved the relationship and communication between healthcare staff and us. I understood what the flow of the day was going to look like and what was going to happen at each step. I did not feel alone, knowing that my family was allowed at my bedside.
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Family Member Testimonial
I discovered very suddenly that my mother was going to die from cancer. She was an asocial schizophrenic andhad hidden her worsening health from my brother and I. As one might imagine, we were feeling overwhelmed and unprepared for what needed to do to move our mother into hospice care, and how to keep her comfortable while being in wait at the hospital. Our Pulse advocate met with me and walked me through what my mother and our family had the rights to ask for. Even simple things, like knowing what a nurse's station would have available and how to work with the staff to get their attention, was of great value to learn from her. She walked me through our first visit with the main doctor managing my mother's care, spending time going over what sort of clarifying questions I should ask. Our advocate left me feeling much more confident and informed in just one day working with her, and for that I am extremely grateful.