couple of posts ago, I am now also a veteran of what happens in a rehab facility--well, one particular rehab facility, anyhow. It's supposed to be that hopeful step between hospital and home, and I arrived with family members in the mindset for that hopeful step. And now, in the spirit of my previous observations, I have a few more musings to add.
- Dumping the patient in a bare room for the first hour after arrival, with or without family, is distressing. In fact, nothing is quite so sure to put a big lump in the family member's throat and bring tears up right behind their eyeballs. It would be so helpful if the rehab staff immediately came in and gave a quick orientation as to what to expect, and found out what the current needs were. And yes, I know this is not a hotel.
- When a patient arrives at a rehab facility straight out of being in bed for many days, it helps if the wheelchair fits onto the wheelchair scales (or the scales is big enough for the wheelchair, if you'd prefer to look at it from that perspective).
- It's kind of weird when the nurse assistant says, "Oh yeah, the foot rests don't come off the wheelchairs of the penitentiary patients who come here, either."
- One R.N. on duty for an entire wing is NOT sufficient.
- I want to know how rehab facility staff could not discover until morning that the patient's spouse slept in a chair by the bed. A cot was available, and was provided for the remaining nights.
- There's a big difference between the faithful, regular explanations by hospital staff about what they're doing, and the actions of rehab facility personnel who walk in and switch IVs or shove a cup of pills at the patient without explanation. If the patient is a retired physician, it seems even more egregious.
- A family member should not have to ask for Immodium for a family member who has needed it for an entire day, often having to push the call button and wait with soiled diaper and sheets.
- A brand new Physical Therapy Assistant straight out of Loma Linda University can be the most competent, cheerful and motivational professional in an entire rehab facility. Kudos to Kristy. I bow to her.
- It's cool when a rehab facility knows how to serve good vegetarian meals. This one did.
- I'd forgotten how handy bibs could be. Or aprons, if you want to be a little more dignified about it. Very smart.
- A patient in pain following surgery is not going to find two Tylenol every six hours, enough. When the patient asks repeatedly for better pain meds, and can't sleep for pain, rehab facility personnel should not wait three painful days before getting the appropriate medications ordered.
- When the patient's only offspring in attendance asks that she be called when the patient is ready to be discharged to go home, and points out her cell phone number in the chart, it is not okay to leave a message on her home phone and not call her at work. And it adds insult to injury when she shows up in the evening to greet her with, "Oh, did you not know he went home?"
- It's frustrating to not have enough medical savvy to advocate sooner for the well-being of a family member. In retrospect, I wish I'd agitated much earlier for the Immodium and for the pain medications, and not trusted that they knew what they were doing.
So there you go. My experience with rehab was almost totally negative. I have vowed that if a family member or I am ever again in need of a rehab facility, it will not be that one. I'm glad it's over. The end.