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Prepare for the Hospital – A Checklist for Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic
With thanks to advocate and guest blogger, Kim McIlnay. Find Kim’s advocacy profile here: Together Patient Advocates, LLC Under the best of circumstances, a hospital stay is stressful and uncomfortable. New challenges with the current COVID pandemic make this a time fraught with even more worry, uncertainty and isolation. But there are still many things you can do to prepare. I’m hopeful that these brief tips can help you prepare now for an improved hospitalization for yourself or your loved one (referred to as “the patient” for simplicity below). Start the following tasks TODAY: Download the FaceTime (or other preferred video chat) app on your devices. Given infection concerns, the majority of hospitalized patients are allowed NO visitors. Being able to communicate via video chat reduces isolation and provides comfort. Video chat will also better facilitate communication with the medical team. If the patient is unable to use a phone or tablet, consider using an old-fashioned tape recorder to pre-record messages from family and/or friends, favorite readings or favorite music. It can be sent to the hospital with the patient, and she or a friend or family member can request that it be played for her. Include a spare set of batteries. Create and print a medical summary sheet. Place a copy in your “Go Bag” (see separate post on this topic). This sheet should include the following important medical information: Name, date of birth and phone numbers Emergency contacts and their phone numbers and relationships. Include a physical address for priority emergency contact in event the hospital is unable to reach them by phone. Notate the patient’s medical power of attorney. Medical diagnoses/medical problem list/past medical history. This list includes the current diagnoses the patient’s doctor is treating, as well as significant past medical history. For example: High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, past history of bleeding from the stomach, past history of cancer years ago, etc. A complete medication list. Look at the actual bottles and include the medication name, dosage, when it’s taken and why. For example: Lisinopril 10 mg every morning for high blood pressure. Update this whenever there is a medication change. A list of medication and food allergies, including the reaction. For example: Penicillin causes rash. Doctors’ names and contact information Past surgeries and hospitalizations Any additional information you think is important for the doctor to know. For example, “Aunt Susie has dementia. Please…