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What is your experience as RN/Family Member during a Hospitalization?

tricia1 tricia1 (New) New

My Husband was in the Hospital for 3 weeks in September. I started out very low key/low profile and discovered that I should have been far more assertive and alot sooner. Medical care was OK but the Nursiing care was terrible. I spent everyday day at the Hospital from 630am (to be there when the doctors made rounds) and left at 930pm usually. My husband eventually came home with a draining fistula in his neck that required a wet to dry dressing/packing and all meds/nutrition etc through a j-tube. He started on a unit that was usuallly for short term observation like a 24 hour or 48 after surgeries. He eventually stayed on 4 different units one of which was the ICU after haviing a laryngaspasm after an external biopsy of the esophagus.So I got to sample some variety of wards.In this time I would say only 3 nurses were kind, caring and professional. One example of many of my griviences is asking the evening before discarge (as noone as yet offerred me any pt teaching towards my husbands home care this whole time except the first unit evening nurse demonstrated the NG tube feedings when originally he was to have just had the NG tube. Other than that nothing) I requested to have a copy of the discharge instructions (the Doctor had told me he was goiing to write them that morning ) and I was told that no he would not go over them with me or give me a copy as "They'd probably change by the morning anyway" which did not happen. but anyway that is just ONE of my many issues. I'd be interested to hear from otherws and I can share more and might. I think I am still dealing a little with the trauma of it all.

i was a major presence when my mother was in the icu.

i have to say that every single nurse was competent, patient and empathetic.

they answered my million questions; never asked me to leave during procedures; would listen to me re: pain mgmt. and would explain to me why there was such a delicate balance of depressing respirations and bp.

she had been on vasopressors because her bp was so low;

once they put her on a ventilator, i told them that she could now receive more anxiolytics and narcotics since they could control the settings on the ventilator, which she did.

i am sure i was such a pain in the neck but they all understood knowing i was a nurse and would ask me if i was satisfied with her current state of comfort.

anyway, the bottom line is she received the best of care from the best of nurses. one of them even let me do her central line dsg change and others welcomed me doing her am care, but the nurse never left the room.

they were all superb and have no complaints whatsoever

leslie

begalli

Specializes in Critical Care/ICU.

Wow tricia. I wonder if home care was ordered for your husband or were you to take care of his dressing changes, feedings, and meds on your own?

Anyway, my experience was with my dad who was in the hospital for four months and that's where he died. He was in ICU, step-down and on the floor. It wasn't so much that the nurses weren't kind, it was more a matter of them not having the time to attend to my dad. And being rushed and so so busy, mistakes were made and basic care was ignored. For example, mouth care: I would come to visit and there would be so much crud caked inside my dad's mouth it impaired his speech, breathing, and swallowing (he'd get mucomyst mixed with oj every morning, but no mouth care after). It would take me a week to get it all cleaned up.

The surgical team was just ridiculous, eventually avoiding me when I came into town (at least that's the feeling I got). My mom definitely felt that they were avoiding her and she was there every single day! I live 2000 from my mom and now deceased dad but I would fly home every couple of weeks and stay for 1-2 weeks at a time. We were NOT one of those PITA families. I did everything I could to help the nurses when I was there (there were a couple who were kind of ignorant, but what can you say?). I helped my mom understand what was important to bother the nurses with and what wasn't and what she could do herself.

My mom spent 8 hours/day sitting at my dad's bedside for 120 days! It was frequently her that pointed out changes in his condition to the nurses. She became very good at giving me a nightly report when I wasn't able to be there. Without getting into detail, I can say that it seemed that this "teaching hospital" closed on weekends and evenings and didn't address problems or changes until Monday rolled around. :angryfire

When I would visit, I would stay late and show up early (with the full support and understanding of the nurses). I stayed in family housing on the hospital campus.

All I can say is I understand your trauma. You know, I was not in town the day my dad died. These doctors KNEW I could catch a plane and make it out there in about 6-8 hours if they just gave me a few hours notice. I knew Northwest airline's schedule like the back of my hand and could fly day or night no matter the cost! They KNEW I was travelling out there every couple of weeks and that I cared deeply about being there and doing the best I could with my family back home. They did not even have the courtesy to let me know that they thought my dad might pass, not even 4 hours before he actually did when I spoke to the resident on the phone urging him to be straight with my mom about dad's condition! Not once did they say, you might want to book a flight out here, we think his condition has taken a turn..blah blah blah. The could have at least called the night before after they held a closed (to family?!?!?!) conference about my dad. I'm not sure why the nurse manager of the unit didn't give me a call either. We were pretty friendly. I believe they stole from me the opportunity to be there when my dad died and NO, I will probably never get over that.

I have to say that there's much more to this story and a reason why the docs couldn't admit how serious and non-curative my dad's condition was.

Everything about this hospital stank. The social worker was useless, the nurses were way overworked, the docs unavailable, and everyone minimizing my dad's condition.

I'm sorry for your experience tricia. It IS traumatizing.

bellehill, RN

Specializes in Neuro Critical Care. Has 9 years experience.

My mom was in the hospital for knee replacement, a pretty minor surgery compared to the other stories so far. I did not announce that I was a nurse but they figured it out. The nurses were busy but kind and caring about my mother. I felt comfortable leaving that night to go home and sleep. They explained everything to my mom and dad, who have no medical background, so that I was able to get good updates by phone.

I didn't go home for my mom's 2nd knee surgery, that was the one I should have since she became over medicated and needed to receive Narcan (a scary situation for anyone receiving). I will say the nurses were on top of the situation and all my mom remembers is the nurse saying,"I'm not going to leave you alone, I will stay right here until you are better" and she felt funny with the Narcan. I couldn't have given better care myself, I am grateful to those nurses and try to do the same for my patients.

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 28 years experience.

I'm sorry to hear that. He's lucky you were there to advocate for him. I hope that he's o.k. now.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

my father was in icu for 12 days after an mi. dad was agitated and combative. at first, i think it was air hunger, but he was so frightened that they ended up having to paralyze him once they intubated him because he just couldn't settle down. when they finally were able to extubate him, he had to move his bowels. because he was so confused, they wouldn't leave him alone on the commode chair, the nurse stayed in the room with him. he got so upset about that, he re-infarcted, got re-intubated and went to the cath lab for more stents! you know the patient no one wants to take because he's so off the wall? that was my dad. he even sent two nurses to the er.

my mother was an enormous pain in the a$$ as well. i love her dearly, but she was always on somebody's back about something. she had to be chatting with the staff ever minute, and she was never wrong about anything. (she may have had no clue what she was talking about, but dammit, she was never wrong!) more than that, she took liberties she shouldn't have taken. for instance, she'd go into the nurse's break room and help herself to their coffee and goodies. (someone offered her coffee once, she thought that meant she could go in there any time!) she'd sit at the bedside and ask for things -- sometimes for dad, sometimes for herself. she was the family member that makes most of the icu nurses i know despise open visitation!

despite the total obnoxiousness of both of my parents, every staff member that treated us with courtesy, kindness and professionalism. they knew i was a nurse, and discussed dad's condition, lab values, etc. with me in as they would with a colleague. they allowed me to be present for his tee and even his intubation. and when i told the resident i thought it was time to intubate dad, he listened. and tubed him. i had no problems getting the physicians to talk to me, and the nurses kept me updated even after i had to fly back home. i can't say enough good things about the staff at gunderson lutheran hospital in lacrosse, wisconsin.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

and my dad was hospitalized another time in a smaller hospital. i wasn't able to visit, but called frequently. there was no problem getting updates from the nurses, and the physicians even called me back when they said they were going to! furthermore, they discussed dad's condition with me at my level of understanding. i appreciate that!

My experience was with my Mom who is 66 years old and has poor circulation in her legs. She had a episode of severe pain in her right leg with loss of pulse. My sister and I took her to the hospital where she was evaluated by an RN who confirmed that she didn't have a pulse in her right leg from the knee down. She was seen by a doctor in the ER 3HOURS later. She laid there in excruiciating pain without any pain meds. As soon as the doctor saw her she was rushed to XRAy for an angioplasty with stent placement.

Which leads me to my next question. I am a traveling nurse who has been offered a DON postion 900 miles away from my mother. She gets around pretty good even with emphysema, but I still worry. I know that a career is important, but she won't move in with me or my brother preferring to stay AT her own home. Any thoughts?

My mom was in the hospital for knee replacement, a pretty minor surgery compared to the other stories so far. I did not announce that I was a nurse but they figured it out. The nurses were busy but kind and caring about my mother. I felt comfortable leaving that night to go home and sleep. They explained everything to my mom and dad, who have no medical background, so that I was able to get good updates by phone.

I didn't go home for my mom's 2nd knee surgery, that was the one I should have since she became over medicated and needed to receive Narcan (a scary situation for anyone receiving). I will say the nurses were on top of the situation and all my mom remembers is the nurse saying,"I'm not going to leave you alone, I will stay right here until you are better" and she felt funny with the Narcan. I couldn't have given better care myself, I am grateful to those nurses and try to do the same for my patients.

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