Any time spent in the hospital when you are a mesothelioma patient is too much. Time is precious and you want to spend as much of it as possible enjoying it however you choose. Being in the hospital is probably not up there on your list. But here, recommended by Consumer Reports, are some things you can do to try to make sure you’re not in the hospital longer than you need to be.
And remember, speak up. As a mesothelioma patient you are entitled to make every day count!
(For more tips, see 7 Steps to Take Before Your Mesothelioma Surgery)
- Find out who’s in charge. Your admitting doctor usually coordinates care but might not always be reachable. Some hospitals now use hospitalists, doctors who oversee a patient’s care while in the hospital. Ask who you should contact and how.
- Check your wristband. Check whether your name is spelled right or if vital information, such as drug allergies, is noted. Hospital staff should check the band each time they give you medication, draw a blood sample, or perform tests. If they don’t, mention your name and your allergies.
- Ask daily if catheters, ventilators, or other tubes can be removed. The risk of infection from a urinary catheter, for example, increases significantly if it’s left in place for more than two or three days.
- Watch for unnecessary tests. They’re not only a waste of time and money but can expose you to unnecessary radiation or other side effects. And they might produce false positive results that lead to more unnecessary follow-up tests and treatment. So make sure you understand the purpose of each test and that you’re not getting a test meant for someone else.
- Get moving. That can help prevent bedsores and blood clots that can form in leg veins. So if you’re up to it, ask a nurse to help you out of bed and, if possible, take a stroll. If you need to stay in bed, ask for special pads that help prevent bedsores, and compression socks designed to help prevent blood clots.
- Stay warm. Body temperature drops by several degrees during surgery, which can impair immune function and blood flow and perhaps increase the chance of infection. So ask your doctor if you need a special surgical blanket or other technique to keep you warm.