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How to Make Your Hospital Stay More Comfortable

A long stay in the hospital usually isn’t pleasant. But, with some planning and preparation, it can be a relatively decent time off. You should come with all of your favorite pastimes and be sure to get the most out of the professionals at your disposal.

Prepare a bag. You will need a large bag of luggage to carry all of the things with you that can make your stay comfortable. If you know that there is a high likelihood that you or someone you love will need to be rushed to the hospital, keep a bag packed by the door. That way you can run off as soon as it is necessary.
This is very common among couples who are expecting the birth of their child, but it is a good idea for those with chronic diseases as well. In the case of an emergency, you will already be prepared for a trip to the hospital.

Bring your medication. Most doctors will want an accurate list of current medications. Typically, a comprehensive list of medications will be sufficient in lieu of the actual medication. But, the pharmacy might not carry your preferred brand of non-prescription medication, so sometimes it is best to bring everything with you.
Keep in mind that most hospitals in North America will refrain from giving home medications due to health and safety regulations. Unless medication is specialized (very expensive oral chemotherapies, etc.) then general medication for common illnesses will be provided by the hospital.

Bring a cell phone. The hospital phone might be hard to reach from your bed and your friends will probably have difficulty getting through to you when calling on the hospital line. A cell phone will make it easier to reach people, and, as an added perk, can provide a good source of entertainment.

Bring a notebook and pen. You will want to keep this on hand so you can write down questions for your doctors and record the things that they tell you. You often won’t have much time with your doctor, so you need to be prepared to get and give as much information as possible. This will also be useful, for example, when providing a record of your medication.

Bring ear plugs. Hospitals can be loud and you never know when your roommate will want to watch TV. Bring in ear plugs to block the sound. Alternatively, consider noise canceling headphones.

Bring your favorite toiletries. Consider bringing your body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, brush, shampoo, powder, and deodorant. The hospital should have some of these things, but they are typically of low quality. If you are attached to a particular product, especially a luxury product like a moisturizer, consider bringing it with you.


Pack a robe and slippers. Unless you want to share your rear end with the rest of the hospital, for the sake of your fellow patients, you should consider bringing something that is comfortable and covers you up better than a hospital gown. Bring non-slip slippers so that you can get in and out of bed with ease. If you are inclined to be cold, consider bringing a hat or coat as well.
Alternatively, ask your nurse for multiple hospital gowns. You can wear one facing forward, the other backward, so that you are fully covered up.The hospital may also have pajama pants or a robe you can wear.

Ask for extra blankets. Hospital mattresses are generally encased in plastic. Though there should be a fitted sheet on top of the plastic, this can make the mattress hot and get your bed sweaty. Ask for a couple of extra blankets to place under you for more comfortable bedding.
Ask about warm blankets — many hospitals can bring you a warm blanket for additional comfort.

Move around a bit. If you lie in the same place for too long, it will detrimentally affect your circulation and may ultimately produce bedsores. The nurses and certified nursing assistants are trained to help prevent bedsores, but you can also do your part by moving around a bit yourself if you can. This might mean getting up for a walk, but even moving around to different positions in the bed can help. Try to reposition yourself a little bit every couple of hours.

Appreciate your caregivers. You are more likely to get good care if you are nice and appreciative with your nurses. Ring for help only when you need it. How much your nurses visits will vary considerably with the severity of your condition.
After surgery, you are likely to be checked on every two to four hours. As time goes on you will be checked on less frequently.
Remember that you are not the only patient in the hospital, and the nurse has many patients she must care for. It is important to be patient while being a patient.

Sources and Citations


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7 Tips to Relieve Information Overload During a Hospital Stay

Anyone admitted to a hospital faces stress and anxiety, often in tandem with pain and trauma. Add into this mix a bombardment of information and instructions from a sea of strangers, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. How can patients and their loved ones keep track of everything they need to know?

The exchange of important information between health care team members and patients and their loved ones carries a heightened responsibility when it’s combined with urgency over a patient’s wellbeing. All parties involved must be attentive to giving and receiving timely, accurate information.

A report from a patient safety group found that communication breakdowns led to more than 1,700 patient deaths over five years. Granted, hospitals are busy places where staff must juggle heavy workloads and constant interruptions. But any confusion, omission or miscommunication can have life or death consequences.

As hospital staff members strive to acquire and provide needed information, patients and their support persons can support the sharing and clarifying exchanges with these seven practical tips:

1. Bring a list of home medications. 

Know what medications you take on a regular basis. When you’re admitted, someone will ask you to provide a list of your medications and will put them in your chart. Your attending doctor will decide which to keep you on in the hospital. The hospital pharmacy will provide those you need to continue taking, and ensure that any new medications prescribed are safe and appropriate in combination with your other meds.

2. Make a list of health care team members. 

An extensive team of health professionals, each with his or her own duties to perform, will come and go from your room. It isn’t always easy to sort out an attending physician from a consulting physician, or a nursing assistant from a certified nurse. If you’re ever unclear about who someone is or their role in your care, ask them. You or your support person will want to write down who is who, along with any instructions the person provides.


3. Know your code. 

Your code status informs staff what to do if you stop breathing or your heart stops. Patients without any chronic health issues who aren’t nearing the end of their life may want the health professionals to do everything possible to revive them. Others with a terminal diagnosis or of advanced age may choose not to be revived. This is called “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR).

4. Assign a spokesperson. 

Identify someone that the hospital staff can call when changes occur. It’s important that this person can be easily reached, that you trust this person with your health information, and that he or she can be relied on to communicate with others in your family or support system.

5. Write down questions as you think of them. 

Except for nurses, most team members stop by your room once a day to check on you, review your care plan, and make any needed adjustments. It’s not always easy to remember all your questions during the doctor’s visit. Keep paper and pen handy and write down whatever questions come up between visits.

6. Advocate for yourself. 

Let your nurse know of any changes in your condition so the information can be relayed to your health care team. Also, if for any reason you’re not happy with a member of your health care team, let your nurse know that you’d like to speak with a nurse manager.

7. Leave the equipment to the experts. 

Hospitals are full of elaborate, high-tech equipment to perform important functions. From IV pumps, to heart-rate monitors, to breathing tubes and more, the equipment often serves a vital purpose. If any equipment begins to beep or if tubes become dislodged, always alert a nurse. Unfortunately, incidents have occurred of patients or family members inflicting irreparable harm when trying to fix things themselves.

Kati Kleber, BSN, RN, CCRN, is a nationally certified critical care nurse in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her new book, Admit One: What You Must Know When Going to the Hospital – But No One Actually Tells You (ANA 2016), provides an insider’s guide to the culture of a hospital and what to expect of health care providers. 

June 30, 2016      Follow at @Care2Healthy

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Preventive health care for unhealthy could save billions

‘Focus on illness treatment has made illness and disease a growth industry,’ says study author

The Canadian Press    Jun 19, 2013 

Billions of dollars could be saved in Canada’s health-care system with the introduction of preventive programs that focus on those individuals in poor health, says a study by the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.

“Canadian medicare with its focus on illness treatment has made illness and disease a growth industry,” lead author Herb Emery told reporters Wednesday.

“It’s one of the fastest growing parts of our public system…. Where we see retraction in education and other areas, we’re seeing continual five per cent growth per year in treating illness and we can’t keep up with demand.”

The report evaluates the costs and benefits of an alternative approach by examining the preventive health-care program run by Pure North S’Energy Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that pays for and provides personalized, preventative health-care services.

It includes lifestyle counselling, dietary supplements and dental services for Albertans from groups of people who tend to be in poor health.

The report found the annual health-care bill for a Canadian in poor health is more than $10,000 higher than for someone in good health.

The Pure North program achieved positive health outcomes at a cost of $2,300 per participant — far less than treating people once they become sick.

Health care costs unstable

“People in poor health tend to use more health care,” Emery said. “The minority of the population, 20 per cent, is generating 80 per cent of the costs and these are generally people who are in poor health.”

Individuals who are healthy tend to stay in good health, and those in poor health tend to stay that way, said Emery.

“What we’re really talking about is chronic conditions … diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. If we can intervene sooner, we can change lifestyles, we can change health. We can potentially restore the fiscal sustainability of the health care.”

Emery said about 250,000 Albertans describe themselves as being in poor health. If even 45 per cent of that number showed an improvement, it would cut the number of their days in hospital by 25 per cent. He said that would save the system $500 million a year.

Emery said if that was expanded across Canada, the savings would be “in the billions.”

“I think the interest in making people healthier and avoiding chronic diseases is Canada-wide. Everyone agrees that if you can figure out how, it has a higher return for the medicare system. The piece that is missing out there is how do you make people healthier?”

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Vancouver hospital first in Canada to use bug-killing robot armed with UV light


VANCOUVER – When Trudi the robot is plugged in and armed, it sounds more like a space shuttle launch system than a germ-killing machine.

“Disinfecting will commence in 15 seconds; please leave the room,” Trudi — as staff at Vancouver General Hospital have named it — calls out in a digital monotone from inside a treatment room.

“Disinfecting process started,” it continues, as its thin, vertical bulbs blast out powerful ultraviolet rays, killing germs and viruses that might be lurking nearby.

The hospital is the first facility in Canada to use Trudi — whose formal name is Tru-D SmartUVC — as health officials across the country look for ways to protect vulnerable patients from catching potentially deadly bugs such as norovirus and C. difficile.

Health officials in British Columbia have started a pilot project that will see Tru-D and a similar device each tested for five months to determine whether the technology should be used permanently in health-care facilities in the province.

“We’ve been very impressed with the almost complete eradication of organisms, even when we take it to high concentrations,” Dr. Elizabeth Bryce, the medical director for infection control at Vancouver Coastal Health, said after a demonstration of the device on Friday.

“We hope it will decrease the rates of hospital-acquired organisms like superbugs.”

The Tru-D device is 1.65 metres tall with long bulbs running vertically up a round, clear shaft — think R2-D2 from “Star Wars” instead of Rosie from “The Jetsons.” It can’t move on its own and must be manually wheeled from room to room.


A large sensor on the top of the device measures reflections from the UV light to determine the size of the room and how much exposure will be required to disinfect it. The process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

It must be used in an empty room that has already been cleaned by hospital staff, said Bryce, providing an extra layer of disinfection rather than replacing existing cleaning.

The five-month pilot project started in January. When that trial is finished, another UV disinfection device, PulseRx, will also be tested.

The results will determine whether the provincial government commits to permanently using either of the devices, which can cost up to $100,000 apiece.

Bryce said the hospital has actually been using Tru-D for the past three months. It asked the company for its test model early as it dealt with the recent norovirus outbreak late last year.

“We did use it in the norovirus season as an add-on to the cleaning, and we’re very pleased with that, as well,” she said.

The Vancouver General Hospital was among many hospitals across Canada to be hit with a norovirus outbreak in recent months, with infection rates several times higher than average in some places.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control announced in early January that a busier-than-normal norovirus season was being complicated by the discovery of a new strain of the illness.

Health officials issued their usual cautions that anyone with norovirus should stay away from hospitals to avoid spreading it to other patients.

Tru-D is already being used in the United States and elsewhere, and Bryce said preliminary results from those jurisdiction is encouraging.

She noted hospitals already use UV light to sterilize medical equipment, so using the technology to disinfect entire rooms isn’t a stretch.

“UV is not new as a disinfection technology, but it’s new in being applied to cleaning patient rooms,” she said.