Going to the hospital is never fun. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, it's just never a great time.
You have to spend a bunch of time in the waiting room, everyone around you is coughing, and everything has that super sanitized smell that makes you feel uneasy.
Unfortunately when you're at the hospital it's usually not because you want to be. It's because it's an emergency situation or a surgical procedure, so there aren't a lot of options.
However, doctors, nurses, and technicians have actually revealed some tricks that can make your hospital stays a little bit more bearable. Simple things from choosing the right location to go, to how to get the most information from your doctors, and how to avoid paying huge amounts of money.
1. Schedule surgeries earlier in the week
If you need to have emergency surgery, obviously there is no way to plan when it'll be. But if you are going in for a procedure that is scheduled ahead of time, it's always best to do it early in the week.
"Hospitals typically have lighter staffing [on the weekend] and less experienced doctors and nurses. Some lab tests and other diagnostic services may be unavailable. If you’re having a major elective surgery, try to schedule it for early in the week so you won’t be in the hospital over the weekend," Dr. Roy Benaroch said.
2. You can request an undisturbed night of sleep
If you're staying in a hospital but you are stable, you can ask your doctor to get the nurses to leave you be for the night. Instead of checking your vitals every couple of hours, the doctor can ask the nurses to skip you for a few rounds. This is obviously only if you are not in a dangerous situation though.
“If you’re feeling good and you are stable, ask your doctor whether you can sleep undisturbed between midnight and 6 a.m. I can write a note directing the nurses not to wake you up to check your vital signs," Dr. Michele Curtis explained.
3. A teaching hospital is actually your best bet
While you might think that a teaching hospital is maybe a risky choice because you don't want to end up with a brand new resident, apparently they are actually your best option. They are always the locations that stay up to date with all the latest technologies and can provide you with better care.
Dr. Evan Levine explained, “For complex surgical procedures, you’re generally better off at teaching hospitals, which usually stay at the forefront of health research. Medical students and residents ask questions, providing more eyes and ears to pay attention and prevent errors. Teaching hospitals have lower complication rates and better outcomes.”
4. As much as they try, there are germs everywhere
Even though your doctor may wash their hands before they interact with you in anyway, they likely haven't changed their coat or scrubs. Even the doorknob they touched on the way in is going to have some germs, not to mention the bed rails, remotes, phones, and the call buttons.
Always wash your hands before eating, because some of the bugs going around in hospitals can be pretty nasty.
5. Get your nurses to include you in the discussion
If you ask your nurses to do a "bedside shift change," you will be able to hear everything they have to say about your situation when they switch staff. As they update the person of your status, you can correct any errors, or even just know more about your condition than you did before.
It's also been found to help increase communication in general with the nurses.
6. But don't talk to them while they change your medication
If you interrupt or ask too many questions while they change out your medications, it may cause them to inadvertently mess up your dosage. Hospital pharmacist Sally Rafie revealed, "Each interruption was linked to a 12 percent increase in errors."
7. Your nurse is probably overwhelmed
I know it can be frustrating when you feel like your nurse isn't giving you the attention you think you deserve, but you should know that hospitals consistently over-extend their nurses, giving them more patients than they can handle.
Deborah Burger, RN and copresident of National Nurses United, revealed, "California is the only state with hospital-wide minimum nurse-patient staffing ratios. Researcher Linda Aiken at the University of Pennsylvania found that each extra patient a nurse has above an established nurse-patient ratio made it 7 percent more likely that one of those patients would die.”
So when they seem exhausted or distracted, it's probably because they have too many patients. Try to give them a break.
8. Hospitals will often pad your bill with specialists
While a specialist is necessary in a lot of cases, not every one of them needs to visit every day. Dr. Levine revealed it's often due to a less experienced doctor.
"Less-well-trained physicians will call in an abundance of consults to help them take care of the patient. If those specialists check on you every day, your bill is being padded and padded. Ask whether those daily visits are necessary."
9. Know how to be discharged
There is usually a set of criteria you need to pass before the hospital will allow you to leave, but they don't always tell you what it is. Dr. James Pinckney revealed that each day in a hospital costs about $4,293, so the best way to save money is get out as soon as you can. For surgery, the criteria is often as simple as how much you move.
"Find out what criteria you need to meet to be discharged, and then get motivated," Pinckney said. "Whether it’s moving from the bed to a chair or walking two laps around the hospital floor."
10. Check your bill thoroughly
Whatever you do, do not skim the bill. CEO of Medical Billing Advocates of America, Pat Palmer, revealed that "eight out of ten hospital bills we see contain an error."
They suggest you take notes through your visit, and try your best to remember when you started and stopped different medications.
"You may identify a drug you didn’t take. Or you know that you discontinued a treatment on Tuesday, but you were charged for Wednesday," Palmer said. "The number on the bill is only a starting point. Try to negotiate for 35 to 50 percent off the charges."
While going to the hospital is never fun, at least having a few tips can help you feel like you have a little bit more control over your situation.
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Source - Readers Digest