In all my years I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve had to be hospitalized only four times and two of those times were to give birth to my daughters. But at the end of February I had to be admitted for emergency surgery in the middle of the night. I had diverticulitis with a substantial amount of infection (sepsis). The surgeon removed my lower colon and established an ileostomy which will be “undone” with more surgery later in April. Thank goodness! I’m very lucky in that regard!
While I was at one of the top hospitals in the Columbus area, I noticed some changes versus the past times I was hospitalized. I’m not sure all the differences are positive. Naturally everything is computerized. Nurses ask questions then spend time on the room’s computer entering all my answers. Every time they gave me medication or a piece of equipment they scanned my ID bracelet. I assumed that was a ca-ching to charge my bill.
The main difference I noticed was with the nursing staff. They seemed to be understaffed. Too many patients – too few nurses. But the main concern was that about 1/3 were wearing hijabs and had a language/communication issue. A couple times they tried to give me medication that I knew was inappropriate per the surgeon’s orders. I wonder what happens to patients that aren’t fully aware! The housekeeping staff and meal delivery staff were mostly non-American given their lack of language skills. It’s sad that these jobs are no longer going to Americans, but rather foreigners working for lower wages.
After two weeks in the hospital, I transferred to a rehab facility for 1-1/2 weeks. The nurse to patient ratio was even worse than at the hospital! I had substantial problems with the ileostomy and finding a satisfactory pouch to adhere to it. The nurses weren’t adequately trained to care for, properly prepare the area and apply the pouch. Basically it was a mess and my skin paid the price. One morning I was left sitting in a “mess” naked for two hours as nurses changed shift and aides had to deliver breakfast trays to the dining room patients. Again I feel sorry for patients who either can’t speak up or don’t have family to check on them. Those are the horrors of elderly care. I just did everything I could to convince the Surgeon that I would be better off at home.
I’ve heard many people – especially politicians – complain about the medical industry. I suspect political involvement in the medical industry is the cause of many of the negatives I experienced. The need to cut costs and time spent filling out the computer work required by the government. That takes time away that nurses and aides can spend giving care to patients. Not good!