Staying in a Rehab Center: What I Expected Versus What I Experienced
Last updated: May 2023
It can happen to all of us now or later ... I went to the hospital. I experienced a urinary tract infection and was treated by my primary care doctor. Unfortunately, it got worse and it started to affect my Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the areas of balance, mobility, strength, and cognition.
My wife and healthcare advocate sent me to a rehabilitation center. Her friend told her about this newly built facility. I was given a nicely decorated private room and received physical and occupational therapy on the premise. After more than 3 weeks, my physical condition improved and I went home.
Most nurses and certified nursing assistants were doing their job responsibilities well. However, not all the providers were concerned about proper and safe care for patients. I noticed many medical errors - high on the list was poorly administrating prescription drugs.
What I expected in the rehab center
Going into the rehabilitation center, I expected the staff to follow these rules and regulations:
- Patients are given respect and concern for their dignity.
- Call bells are answered as quickly as possible to address the patient's needs.
- Patients are cleanly dressed and all activities of daily living are met.
- Meals are delivered on time, hot, and set up for the patient to eat safely and independently as possible.
- All medicines are given correctly and on time per the doctor’s orders.
- There are no medication additions, deletions, omissions, or substitutions without direct physician input.
- Communication between the staff and patient is handled with respect regardless of patient competency.
- Family is involved in making decisions for those who are not competent.
- HIPPA guidelines must be followed.
- You are aware of all the medicines that you are taking
What I actually experienced
In my experience, the call bells were not being answered in a timely fashion ... or at all. Some of my medicines were either given late or not at all. In addition, some of the medicine given to me was not ordered by my doctor. I refused to take the unauthorized pills. When I questioned the nurse, she admitted that upon re-checking, she "made a mistake."
Another time during a nursing shift change, the off-duty nurse failed to give me my night pills. She left them at the nurse’s station. The new shift nurse apologized for the previous nurse's error and gave me those pills.
After the nurses came into the room to administer medication or provide personal care, they closed the door and turned off the lights as they left. Sometimes, they did not even give me the call bell to signal the nurse. I was upset that I had no way to ask for assistance from anyone.
What to do in that situation
In that situation, I became my own best advocate for my healthcare and patient rights. Anytime someone came to provide medicine, I also asked the name of the pills they were providing. This helped reduced the number of medical errors that I was exposed to daily.
I encourage you to choose your healthcare advocate wisely. Choose someone you trust unequivocally! They should be totally aware of your wishes. Then, they can convey those wishes to the staff, physicians, and others if you become unable to communicate on your own or if you become incompetent.
In conclusion, communicate and advocate for your concerns and needs. Speak up! If you are unable to do so, have the family or healthcare advocate speak on your behalf. Hopefully, your concerns can be alleviated.
Have you ever spent time in a hospital or rehabilitation center? What was your experience? Share in the comment section below.
On average, how many times per month do you (or your caregiver) go to the pharmacy?
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