With a little help from our friends…and family

Posted September, 21 2012 by arianne

“Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate…You may be able to rest better. Your advocate can help make sure you get the correct medicines and treatments,” opens a recent report by New Yorkers for Patient & Family Empowerment and New York Public Interest Research Group, quoting The Joint Commission.

The report, Sick, Scared and Separated from Loved Ones, carefully reviews the visiting policies for the 99 acute care hospitals in New York State having 200 or more “staffed beds” and finds vast inconsistencies in hospital policies. The report declares that hospitals should implement evidence-based policies rather than maintain the status quo.

The research revealed:

  • Some hospitals provide many more hours of visiting than others
  • Many hospital websites contravene the patients’ legal right to choose priority visitors
  • Rules on children as visitors vary, with little rhyme or reason
  • New York hospitals could significantly improve their websites usefulness to visitors
  • Many hospital websites omit useful visitor safety precautions

The report makes a number of recommendations for flexibility and giving patients the right to choose who can and cannot visit. Parents should be able to stay with their children 24 hours, and hospitals that restrict visiting by children or teenagers should be more accommodating.

Hospitals can be scary for many patients, not to mention the circumstances that land them there. Friends, family, and other individuals who provide support can help, but only if they’re allowed in.