Aren’t my doctors and nurses there to advocate for me or my loved one? Of course, but they have many other patients to care for (your nurse usually has three to seven other patients, unless you are in the intensive care unit, and your hospitalist generally has 12 to 20 or more other patients along with you each day). It is beneficial to your healthcare providers to have someone knowledgeable about you there.
So my nurses and doctors are busy. What could my Hospital Buddy really do for me? Do they really need to be there at all times?
Your Hospital Buddy can remind your doctor that the last time you had a fever and started seeing pink elephants, you had a urinary tract infection. Or your buddy can point out to your nurse that normally you are quite sweet, and the fact that you are cursing at the nursing staff is a severe, sudden personality change, for which you should be medically evaluated.
Doctors arrive in patients’ rooms at random times. Your Hospital Buddy will be able to take notes for you while you are napping or sedated – just make sure to scribble a permission-to-talk note for the doctor, so that your doc can speak to your buddy and fill him or her in on what’s happening. As you write down your daily list of questions for your doctors, you can decrease the stress of worrying about missing your doctors’ visits when you know that someone you trust has that list and will ask and record the answers for you. You can nap, when necessary, with peace of mind.
What about at night? Again, it is always safest to have someone with you. Your companion is there in case of emergency. Occasionally there may be an instance when someone remains in the hospital simply because they are awaiting a procedure that has been scheduled, or are finishing a course of intravenous antibiotics, but otherwise are rock-stable, and then it may be reasonable not to have someone stay overnight with him. However, when things are rocky, it is still preferable to try to have a companion.