Jan 22, 2007

What works and what doesn't in hospitals - a patient's perspective

Paul, thank you so much for answering my email and your suggestions on how to play with the blog.

My dream started when I was a patient in a hospital and I kept thinking that something can be done to make these people's life better. Here's the story:

My baby was 9 days old and his pediatrician was afraid that he's not gaining enough weight (diagnostic: failure to thrive). He sent us to the hospital to get some blood tests done. If the tests were not good, my baby could have been admitted back in the hospital and be fed through IV.

At the hopital, I ended up in a big waiting room with maybe 50 other (sick) people waiting to go through the admission paperwork. I was told that I will have to wait at least 1 hour to get the paperwork done. I asked if they had a room where I can breastfeed my (hungry) baby. I was told that there isn't one and the person at the desk suggested the restroom.

This is a very nice hospital where I delivered, I was encouraged and helped to breastfeed and I was really satisfiedw with their services while I was in. Their L&D (Labor and Delivery) admission was very friendly: they just sent me to L&D, gave me a bed, and after all the medical stuff was cleared, someone came in with a laptop and got my paperwork. I thought this was very thoughtful and cool.

I imagined that maybe the restrooms are like hotel restrooms, where there would be a quiet, clean room with comfortable chairs. No chance of that... The baby was becoming fussy and I got over my embarasment and everything and started feeding him. (When babies are that small, they need to learn how to feed and you are encouraged to not give them bottles) I imagine that this offended them, because I was called to register within 5 minutes, just 30 minutes after I got in.

Imagine that the waiting room was full of sick people. My drama might have been the least dramatic in that room.

Why can't hospitals do something about this? Why don't they create an electronic check-in like the airlines do? Why don't they have a room for breastfeeding and have that kid with a laptop do our paperwork? If this process works so smoothly for L&D why can't it be made to work for the general admission?

I'm feeling that I can help this somehow and the more I read about the status of helthcare the more I realize that this is one place where I can help, where a difference might help, where something needs to be done.


Maxine said...

Hi Ileana.
I saw your blog on Paul's blog. I agree with you. we have all been to hospitals where we hurry up and wait. Your ideas sound reasonable and someone should try them. I have four children, I remember so many visits to so many Emergency Rooms when they were younger and it was always so chaotic. there has to be a better way.

Ileana said...

Yes, yes, yes