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Advocating – It’s Like Nailing Jello to a Tree
(No – that’s not Dad in the photo – but this gentleman is quite representative!) Last week I shared notes from my father’s hospital bedside as he began his recovery from back surgery. The majority of his hospital stay was safe and successful, although we continued to have big problems managing his pain throughout. Dad was discharged to a skilled nursing center to convalesce and begin rehab. He’s well on the road to recovery. We have much to be thankful for. As mentioned previously, my work does not typically include helping individual patients with their healthcare challenges. I write and speak on advocacy topics, but one-on-one is not how I spend my typical day… So this hospital experience with Dad was quite the eye opener. And what I learned is that being a successful patient advocate means learning how to nail jello to a tree. (Just picture it….) And it raised my esteem even further (if that was possible!) of all of you who work side-by-side with patients every day. I do not know how anyone gets out of a hospital alive without having an advocate by his or her side. OK, I don’t think it must always be a paid, private advocate who pitches in. A family member, or someone who knows about the necessary safety measures will be able to catch most of the smaller problems. But I learned that for those of us who are not experienced, it is impossible to anticipate the “saves” that professional advocates perform. And the magnitude of those “saves” is what is important. They can be life-saving. Some examples of the ones I caught: Last week I told you about one of the drug saves, and the catch-him-falling-out-of-the-chair save. There was no way that I could have anticipated either. I’m just not experienced enough. I’ve written in my other blog about the sign I put up on the wall above the head of his bed. It caused a bit of controversy among the hospital staff. They took it down citing privacy issues. I replaced it, and promised to take on the Joint…