If you haven’t been a hospital patient in a while, congratulations! It’s not that much fun. I was a patient a several years ago and I still remember it clearly.
The patient perspective: On January 31, 2011 I got off the ski lift and followed my friends downhill in Breckinridge, Colorado. It was a beautiful day and everything was perfect. My friends skied fast and I stayed with them. As the slope suddenly dropped, I got a little unexpected air under my skis and fell after making an awkward landing, stopping instantly when I slammed into three trees. One broke my scapula, the next one got three ribs and a vertebra and the last one broke my fibula.
The ski patrol, the EMTs on the ambulance, and the ER team all did a great job and I was ready to be admitted. The anesthesiologist came to the ER and said my pain medication would be delivered through my IV, so to make sure that the pump continued to function. Smart people and modern equipment were all around me, so I assumed my IV pump would also perform.
I was wrong. My IV pump alarmed eight times that afternoon. The first time, I thought someone would be notified. When nobody came, I pushed the nurse call button and asked for help. I quickly realized that a response to the IV alarm depended on me. The day before that would have been fine, but now I was helpless. It took me about three minutes to get out of bed, which caused intense pain from my broken vertebra piercing into my lower back muscles. So, I needed help with the IV pump that was my only source of pain relief. Using the nurse call system to keep it working was not going to work if I was asleep.
When the shift changed and my night nurse arrived, she seemed unconcerned about my IV pump, so I slept fitfully that night as I listened for the IV alarm. It continued to alarm throughout that night and until I was discharged. Everybody involved in my care, the nurses, aides, physical and occupational therapists, doctors all did a great job. But my experience would have been so much better if the IV alarms had been routed to a caregiver without my involvement. There would also have been twenty-five fewer nurse calls. Imagine the effect on HCAHPS if every patient has a similar experience!
We built Amplion to help hospitals make patients confident about their care.
Please contact us if you’d like to talk about the possibilities for your patients.