The Most Important Safeguard for the Hospitalized Patient- You

Absolutely the most important thing for an inpatient: keep a close relative or friend sitting with the patient 24/7.

When people aren’t feeling well, they are not good advocates for themselves. They need someone there with them who can help.

It wasn’t this way years ago, but in our modern hospital culture, doctors spend only a couple minutes a day in the room with the patient. Nurses are busy with medication-giving, IV changing , and other organizational and administrative duties. Nursing assistants are busy getting vital signs and running for supplies. The ward clerk is busy answering the phone, arranging for tests to get done and getting the patient transferred to the right place at the right time.

There is absolutely no one presently at the hospital who actually cares for your lived one, like nurses used to be able to do. The loved ones of the patient must fill in that gap or the patient runs the risk of being a victim of our current busy, busy, busy healthcare system.

“Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate. Ask this person to stay with you, even overnight, when you are hospitalized. You will be able to rest better. Your advocate can help make sure you the right medicines and the right treatment.”1

Bottom line: don’t leave your loved one alone in the hospital unless he has a minor, stable condition. And even then, check on him frequently.

Studies, Footnotes and Resources:

  1. The Joint Commission. “Speak Up Program.”, accessed November 15, 2008