For the last few days on DrGreene.com I’ve share the first three checklists from my book, The Patient’s Checklist: 10 Simple Checklists to Keep You Safe, Sane and Organized . Today I’m skipping to Checklist 6, The Daily Journal because I think keeping your own health diary is one of the most important things you can do in any medical situation.
It is so important to keep a written record of any type of hospital stay – whether an emergency room visit or a longer stay. Your journal is your story – a personal version of the medical chart.
Here are some things I would recommend to keep in your journal:
- Who are your nurses and what are their shifts? There are more communication mix-ups at “hand-offs” or shift changes that at any other time. Make sure your nurses review your child’s care plan when they change shifts.
- Which physician is supervising your child’s overall care? Are their residents and interns involved in your child’s care? Write down their names and shift times too. Make sure that at their hand-offs all correct information about your child is exchanged.
- Keep a daily log of all medication your child is taking and review with your nurse so you are absolutely familiar with your child’s regimen. Medication mix-ups are a very serious hospital hazard. You need to make sure that every time your child gets any medication that it is the right drug, the right dose, the right time and that it is meant for your child!
- How does your child feel? Is she in pain, listless, anxious, restless? Immediately alert your nurse and doctor if anything seems wrong.
- Get the number for the hospital’s Patient Representative. You should never hesitate to call them if you have any concerns or frustrations that you feel are not being addressed. It is their job to advocate for the patient in the hospital setting and they can help facilitate many, many things from contacting your doctor to organizing a family meeting to finding out reasons for any care delays to food complaints.