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Your Personal Care Team - PCT
6/1/2015 8:57:01 AM
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If you are going to be hospitalized you should assemble your PCT, a small group of family members and/or friends, one or more of whom will stay with you as allowed by the hospital. The goal is to assist the nurses and doctors in making your hospital stay safe.
Your PCT can be made up of family members, friends or a combination of both. They should be people you trust, they should be reasonable and they should be good communicators. You don’t want to have anyone on your team who will feel the need to be obnoxious on your behalf. That would be counterproductive. You need people who understand that their job is to make your hospital stay safe, effective and complication-free. And if problems arise, you’ll need someone who will be skilled when negotiating with nurses and making them understand that your PCT team is there to make their jobs easier. Excellent patient care is built on trust. And trust requires a sharing of values, expectations and personal health goals.
Various cultures define family differently, and for your PCT, you may have members of your nuclear (genetically related) family or members of your extended family, including close friends and neighbors. This is important, as surgery has become more complicated at a time when hospital stays have come shorter. This means you’ll need reliable folks to watch over you after your operation and after hospital discharge to get you through the long recovery period. Most post-op recovery today occurs at home. Your PCT can thus provide continuity of care while you’re in the hospital and during your convalescence.
You may have one person at a time with you as your personal care team, or you may want two or three people to be at your side. They need to find out where they’re allowed to go in the hospital and where they must wait for you. The idea is to have an additional set of eyes on what’s going on with your care. Here’s the crucial thing: to pick up potential errors before they happen, while they are happening, or immediately after they have happened to minimize the impact of the error. To this end, your team must be cooperative, unobtrusive and polite.
You can start the process by asking the nurses if you can have more than one person in your room at a time. And ask them what your team can do to make their jobs easier. Help you out of bed to a chair; help walk you in the hall; wash you. At the same time, team members shouldn’t tolerate unprofessional behavior. If they encounter nurses or other health-care providers who are rude, ask to talk to their supervisors.
One of the biggest issues in the care of hospitalized surgical patients today is “failure to rescue.” It means that if you develop a complication such as a wound infection or blood clots in your legs, for example, (and the possibility is always significant), the early course of the complication—within the first two to four days of your operation—is too often missed. These are often but not always preventable complications. And more important, if they can’t be prevented, they should be predicted and identified early to minimize their impact on your recovery. In fact, it’s estimated that 70 percent of medical errors occur because the whole hospital system fails. Not just individuals but the entire process of providing your care. And that’s where your own personal care team comes in. You need people to help busy nurses and other hospital personnel to keep you safe.
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More Blogs by David W. Page
Your Personal Care Team - PCT - Monday, June 01, 2015
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Beware of Open Breast Biopsies - Monday, March 02, 2015
Hospital failure events - Monday, February 02, 2015
End of year thoughts on patient advocacy - Tuesday, December 23, 2014
SAFE SURGERY - Fifty facts you need to know if you are having an operation - Monday, September 22, 2014
A new ebook on groin hernias is on its way - Thursday, August 07, 2014
When Surgeons Blog About Themselves - Monday, May 05, 2014
The First Fifty Things You Need to Know If You Are Having Surgery - Friday, January 24, 2014
A New Medical Information Project - Monday, December 30, 2013
Distracting Trainees in the OR - Wednesday, March 13, 2013
LessTraining Time, Less Fatigue, No Improvement in Patient Safety - Wednesday, February 27, 2013
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