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Getting Personal: My Patient Experience - #4

Posted Aug 20 2012 12:00am

I've heard from a few of my readers who had similar experiences as to my #1 , so I hope OB professionals are listening.  I debated on whether to share this last one, but here it is.....

At the time when insurance companines in California were having new moms kicked out of the hospital within 24 hours, I was fortunate enough to deliver my first child.  After being in labor all day and then a 12:45 am delivery I woke up at 8:30 and saw a nurse when I opened my eyes.  Her first comment was "what time are you planning to leave today?"  "Uh, I don't know," was my response. I then asked to see my baby.

I didn't see much of the nurses that Saturday morning.  At one point, I did see one and asked her about breastfeeding, because it wasn't seeming to work like the books had said.  She told me to put the baby on each side for five minutes.  Ok, so I did, and thought she will be back to see how it is going. No such luck.

Finally, given the lack of attention (on the completely new unit) and my concern about being asked what time I was leaving; my husband and I decided we should just go home.  He could take better care of me there.  We informed the nurses, but there was one problem.  The baby had not urinated yet, and that was a requirement before she could be discharged.  Not wanting to leave without my baby, here we were, finally ready to leave and we had to wait a few hours before we could.

If I could go back in time, I would expect that the hospital staff could have communicated with me a little more:

  • compassionately about the issue with the insurance,
  • effectively about breastfeeding, and 
  • completely on when I could really expect to leave.  

I think a video or avatar, who stops to make sure I understand or to check back on progress, might have been a great resource for the breastfeeding.  Information upon admission, on the website, or a visit a little later that morning about the insurance issue would have been welcome.

As for the first thing a patient hears when they open their eyes after such an experience... I would hope no other mom ever has to hear "when are you planning to leave".  Good morning,  hello,  my name is ____, I am your nurse, or something else might be a much better first impression of the OB unit (post natal care).

I sometimes hear that the reason OB patients don't choose a hospital is because of the "old" facilities. In this particular case, I think we can agree that the larger issue would have been something completely different --- how we communicate with our patients.

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