“Your Hospital Guide” Part 2 (of 5) of Chapter 1 (Always Have Someone with You in the Hospital)

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.


2 thoughts on ““Your Hospital Guide” Part 2 (of 5) of Chapter 1 (Always Have Someone with You in the Hospital)

  1. Karen Dubrinsky

    Hi there! Along these same lines, patients may also require a translator. My sister-in-law has provided this service for many patients of Albanian descent in our area. She helps them talk to the doctors and helps them understand exactly what is going on with their treatment. This would be extremely valuable in a hospital stay situation! Excellent reading, Dr. Abi!

    1. Abi Schildcrout Post author

      Hi Karen! Thanks for writing! Hospitals actually have certified medical translators available for anyone who has difficulty with English. In cases when there is no qualified person onsite, there are special phones that can hook doctors and patients up on three-way calls with a medical translator for pretty much any language (I’ve used the special phone service – it works pretty well). It is most definitely also very important to have a friend/family member/other Hospital Buddy who speaks both English and the other language, but the official translator (which I am guessing your sister-in-law is) should never be skipped. The unofficial Buddy translator is crucial for advocacy purposes and general communication, while the official medical translater is needed to ensure that specific information is communicated accurately between the doctor and the patient. Thank you again for bringing this up!


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