It’s in the details

Nathan is currently inpatient for fever and neutropenia. We have spent time hospitalized in 4 different hospitals and our current hospital, has the best peds floor…hands down. The unit is about 3 years old and you can tell they had a lot of input from both parents/caregivers and nurses. Some of these details are very small but can make a big difference in parent and patient happiness.

Here are the elements that make it great.

1. Fully dimming night lights low on the wall by the parent bed/chair. You can actually read or use the computer when your child is asleep instead of sitting on the floor outside the bathroom door with a crack of light coming through.

2. LAN ports all over the room to get online with. Connecting with the outside world keeps parents sane and also lets the patients get online to help entertain themselves.

3. A locking cabinet for the family to use in the room. It is good to have somewhere to lock up the laptop if you are heading to the playroom.

4. Flat panel TVs for each bed with a DVD player and FULL cable. The shared rooms at our home hospital have one TV for two patients to share. How the heck is that supposed to work when you have kids aged from 1 – 18 and parents having to decide what to watch.

5. 2 window blinds – 1 to block out light and the other to let it some through. It sucks to sit in blackness during the middle of the day because your child wants the blinds closed. I find I am able to pull up the darkening one a little and get a small amount of daylight. I usually do this while he is not looking, in small increments, so he doesn’t notice.

6. Parent menus. One of the hardest thing for a parent to do is find a way to feed themselves when they are with a child at the hospital. Here, there is a menu for the parents and when you call to order your child food you can order some for yourself as well.

7. A room door with full panes of glass in it that has blinds for all glassed areas. I can’t tell you how much I hate being stuck in a hospital room with a closed windowless door. I like being able to see people walk around out in the halls. I feel much less claustrophobic. However, I have been in rooms where there are no blinds on the door or only one of the panes has a blind and at night so much light pours in that you can never really get into a good sleep.

8. Thermometers at every bed. I can’t tell you how many hospitals or clinics I have been in where there is a never ending search for a tympanic thermometer. I was in the PICU of a very good hospital and they had 2 thermometers for the whole ward. I get so sick of watching the nurses or techs scramble for them.

9. Window for every bed. In shared rooms if there is only one window the curtain gives each patient half a window. Other rooms have at least one window per patient. There is nothing worse that sitting in a shared room on the “door side” of the room with the curtain drawn and the window on the other side of the curtain.

10. Ability to use cell phones on the ward. I know cell phones can interfere with some patient monitoring equipment but whatever they use here they do not have a problem with cell phone use and I can actually call my husband for free whenever I want.

11. Non-fluorescent wall light. After a while the fluorescent room lights can drive you mad. There is a regular, incandescent light on the wall that is bright enough to light the room.

12. Showers in the parent bathrooms. The ability to get clean without leaving the hospital is a very nice perk.

13. Washer and dryer on the unit for parent use. Many parents are basically living in the hospital so they can actually do their own laundry while they stay with their child.

14. Parent kitchen. The kitchen has a fridge and microwave for parents and a drink dispenser and most importantly a coffee/hot drink machine. No urn of coffee that has been burning all day. No feeling guilty because you have to ask the nurse to bring YOU a drink from the secret juice supply. There is even a small table for you to eat at if you wish.

15. Parent lounge. A no-kids room with comfortable chairs and a window to get away and clear your mind for a few minutes.

16. Enough pillows and blankets to go around that the parent can actually have some to sleep with. I have slept many a night without a pillow and blanket at hospitals. They never seem to have enough and it is such an easy way to make a parent comfortable.

17. Chair/bed that is actually comfortable and doesn’t separate while you are trying to move around on it. What more can I say about that?

18. Room chair with footstool. They actually have a little footstool for the non bed/chair chair. When sitting in the hospital room all day it is nice to be able to put your feet up after a while.

19. Playroom volunteers who will come and sit with your child so you can leave the hospital or even just take a break from your child for an hour.

20. Room doors that open and close quietly. I have been in so many rooms that the doors make a racket when you open and close them. Forget sleeping through a vitals check in the middle of the night.

5 responses to “It’s in the details

  1. I came across your blog a few weeks ago, by randomly clicking from link to link – I can’t remember how I got here now.I was immediately drawn to your writing and to your situation. Nathan is a very charming boy who deals with a miserable situation so well. I too have a June birthday boy of six, and so what he says and does and how he feels has struck a chord in me.There is nothing I can do for you in reality, but I’d like you to know that there is a friend in Japan, thinking of you all and wishing you well.

  2. I read your comment, and while I know so many things are difficult for you guys right now, it is wonderful that these sorts of details can make your life easier.I imagine that if the hospital’s architects/board/CEO/etc read your post, it would bring tears to their eyes. It is nice to know that the standard of care is being pushed in the right direction and that you guys live just a little easier because of it.

  3. I’m geeking at the idea of no fluorescent lights. Those are such a migraine trigger.(((HUGS)))

  4. Not having to leave to shower is HUGE!

  5. Glad to know that effort, imagination and dollars were spent this way.

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