When we’re sick and vulnerable, we rely on hospitals and health-care providers to treat us. We depend on their knowledge, training, skills, and compassion. We expect them to help us to heal so that we can return to our daily life and be the same person as we were to our spouses , kids, parents ,employers and friends .
We certainly don’t expect to get worse as a result of being hospitalized. However, there’s a chance that, in fact, we will get worse as there are 10 ways a hospital stay can make us sicker. This is the case when the chain itself getting mad . Lets check some cases when this can actually happen. This is in no way an excuse not to go to hospital but only a fair warning of what you can expect.
1 Post-Hospital Syndrome
Dr. Harlan Krumholz of the Yale School of Medicine has coined the term “post-hospital syndrome” to identify a temporary period during which patients are susceptible to an illness following a hospital stay. This requires their readmission within 30 days of their initial discharge.
The cause of readmission ranges from a hospital-acquired infection (HAI), stress experienced during hospitalization, sleep deprivation during the hospital stay, a lack of nutrition or exercise, lowered immune system functioning, and depression. Research conducted in 2009 shows that, among Medicare patients, 2.6 million discharged patients (20 percent) were readmitted to the hospital within a month of their discharge.
2 Hospital Food Errors
This is another source of error that can creep in the hospitals. There have been cases when people who should be on fast given food and vice versa. Also sometimes errors happen in the hospital that the prescribed diet by the dietician or the doctor is not followed . This can generally have dire consequences if not curbed immediately.
3 Food Denial
In an article in the online journal BMJ Quality and Safety, several Johns Hopkins Hospital doctors contend that the practice of withholding patients’ food for eight hours prior to surgery is unnecessary and potentially dangerous. Even worse, in some cases, patients may have to wait days before hospitals allow them to eat in case they need to be anesthetized for surgery.
Patients’ immune systems could be compromised by denying them sleep and nutrition. Inadequate nutrition, suffered by half of hospital patients, could lead to “inflammation, muscle breakdown, and organ damage.”
Dr. Martin Makary, one of the authors of the article, called the need for an eight-hour fasting period before surgery a “myth.” He and his colleagues observed that it’s safe for patients to consume a high-carbohydrate beverage two hours before surgery. He also recommends that patients be allowed to eat food other than hospital meals during their hospital stays.
Now we all know this. There are many sources in the hospital where an infection can be lurking.Contaminated medical equipment, faulty surgical incisions, and too many antibiotics contribute to infections caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses. So its always better not to take children and aged people to the hospital whose immune system may not be strong to fight against these infections. Also be very careful when you are at the hospitals and use hand sanitizer often.
5 Poor Care Of Elderly Patients
Elderly patients tend to receive worse care than other patients. As a result, many of them leave the hospital in worse shape, physically and psychologically, than when they were admitted. Older patients are sometimes not fed properly, do not get enough exercise, or do not receive sufficient pain control.
Often, oxygen tanks or intravenous (IV) poles prevent the elderly from getting out of bed. Doctors perform unnecessary procedures on these patients and prescribe “redundant or potentially harmful medications.”
The elderly are deprived of sleep in noisy wards or because their vital signs are checked frequently throughout the night. Younger patients are more resilient than seniors, so older patients may have a harder time than younger patients in recovering from such treatment.
Some hospitals separate elderly patients from others, removing IV tubes and encouraging them to get out of bed to eat in a common dining room. The focus in such hospitals is on elderly patients’ ability to care for themselves at home.
6 Reduced Care
There are some cases when to cut costs hospitals cut corners with the care that is provided to the patients. There are cases of deliberate reduced care to patients which lead to complications later in time . To survive in poor economic environments, small hospitals often merge with large chains. In such cases such reduced care are not sufficiently monitored as in many of the hospitals in teh chain the care may be sufficient.
7 Poor Staff Hygiene
In some cases, patients are worse off after hospitalization due to poor staff hygiene. Sometimes, doctors don’t wash their hands as often as they should. Nurses, tasked with reminding physicians and surgeons to do so, don’t think it’s their responsibility to “police the doctors.”
If they were to offer such reminders, nurses said, they’d fear reprimands. Doctors also don’t want to be taken to task by nurses because it implies that the doctors aren’t aware of the need for sanitary practices.
8 Missing And Malfunctioning Equipment
Two of the many problems faced by many hospitals , are equipment failure and a lack of basic equipment. This is taken care in many hospitals by having redundant equipments to make sure that things are working always.
But there are other things like Air Conditioners which can malfunction for months in hospitals. Patients and the people with them should be always vigilant of such cases and should notify the authorities as it is the right of patients to get proper care .
9 Sick Doctors
Although doctors often feel obligated to work while sick, they put their patients with weakened immune systems at risk of infection when the doctors do so. In a survey of health-care providers (including 280 doctors) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 83 percent admitted to working while sick at least once during the past year.
Their symptoms included diarrhea, fever, and cold or flu symptoms. These health-care providers worked while sick because they didn’t want to let their colleagues or patients down. Even though the doctors are doing it on good intention this can ultimately lead to serious repercussions to the patients
In addition, they indicated that peer pressure was a consideration because colleagues criticize doctors who take sick days. Previous surveys have shown similar results, indicating that doctors respond to workplace pressures to work when ill.
1 ‘Never Events’ And Serious Untoward Incidents
“Never events” (occurrences that should never happen) can make patients sicker. These preventable incidents, such as operating on the wrong part of a patient’s body or leaving foreign objects inside a patient’s body, can seriously harm or kill patients.
There have been cases of extracting the wrong healthy teeth or removing or having scan of the wrong breast.
Hospitals have to guard against such things happening by having strict processes and adhering to them as closely as they can . Patients and people with them should act as auditors to the process and be vigilant at all times to help hospitals to give the best possible care to the patients.