Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Monday, May 07, 2012

Hospital Duty -- Part 3 Take Good Notes

One of the keys to my effectiveness as a patient advocate is the spiral notebook I maintain for each patient. This is simply a chronological record of everything I learn and questions I have. On the inside front cover, I list the names and telephone numbers of each physician. This is particularly important as in my sister’s case where she’s seen at least a dozen docs over the past year and a half. I also keep track of the names of office staff I've talked to. They appreciate being called by name the next time I call back.

Each day I'm at the hospital I note the date and anything of importance that happens that day -- tests, physician consults, med changes, allergies, answers to questions, problems, names of helpful staff, ... anything ... I also log telephone calls both during and between hospitalizations. This binder has been invaluable over time. I'm usually the only person in the room with an accessible record of care, especially over multiple hospitalizations. I can't tell you how many times my notes have prevented duplicate tests or treatments or even treatment errors. This not only protects the patient, but also helps the staff do their job better. So as soon as you know you’re in for hospital duty, grab a notebook!

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