The Patient Experience: What You Need to Know
You Are an Important Part of the Healing Process
At Highland Hospital we believe that you're much more than a visitor in your loved one's life. Your involvement is part of a patient's healing process and we encourage you to visit.
We also understand that for family and friends a hospital can be an overwhelming, often confusing place that feels unsettling and stressful. By taking a few moments to familiarize yourself with a patient's experience in the hospital you can play an important role in soothing their fear, providing support, and bringing a sense calm into the room—all essential to the healing and recovery process.
Every patient has a unique treatment program specific to their condition. However, just like you have a daily routine at home, there is also a predictable rhythm to hospital activities. Even though a hospital is a place of rest and recovery, it's also a very busy place. Days start early and sometimes run well into the night,and both seem to run together especially if there is a lot of activity during the night. Knowing what to expect will help you decide the best possible time for your visit.
A Typical Routine
Listed below are some routine activities that create the typical ebb and flow of hospital activity from the patient's perspective.
- Vital signs. Most activities are scheduled during the day so a patient can rest at night. Checking vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, pulse and respiratory rate) is an exception. From admission to discharge; most patients have their vital signs checked regularly round-the-clock.
- Blood draw. Lab technicians will take blood samples very early. This is because the first question on a healthcare provider's mind is what were the vitals and the labs today? The team uses the vital signs and lab results from the blood sample to make or adjust their plans for a patient.
- Meals.Meal times are staggered but usually occur around the expected times—morning, afternoon, and evening. Contact the patient's unit nurse or secretary to get a more precise time of when your friend or family member will be served.
- Personal care. Sometime during the first half of the day a personal care assistance will be provided for those who need it. This includes assistance with activities such as brushing teeth and hair, face washing, showering, and using the bathroom.
- Medications. Nurses administer medications to each patient based on the schedule prescribed by the doctor. This schedule doesn't necessarily correspond to any other activities.
- Housekeeping. Housekeeping will come into a patient's room once or twice a day to empty garbage, clean the bathrooms, wipe down sinks and generally keep everything sparkling and orderly. They follow protocol to ensure everything is cleaned according to strict standards.
The Healthcare Team
In addition to the regular daily activities, a patient receives care from a wide range of specialists. The exact time these specialists interact with a patient may vary depending on schedules.
Physicians. When physicians tend to their patients, it's called making rounds or rounding. Rounds happen at least once a day, sometimes more, depending on a patient's needs. At Highland we embrace collaboration between attending physicians, patients, and their trusted loved ones. We encourage patients and their family to be active participants in the rounding process. This results in our patients being well informed and comfortable with their care.
Highland is an affiliate of the University of Rochester Medical Center and is a teaching hospital on the forefront of new ideas, the latest research, and techniques. There will often be interns and residents rounding with the physician. The physician, residents, and other members of the medical team may be present during rounds to ensure clear, transparent communication.
Nurses. Nurses have a huge responsibility and are often the ones who stitch all the daily activity and information together for everyone who needs to know about a particular patient. They watch over a patient's daily needs and well-being. In addition to assisting with personal care, medications and vital signs, nurses conduct routine assessments. Every detail is considered important and tracked. Concerns are addressed by the nurse manager who is assisted by nurse leaders and the charge nurse. Registered nurses (RNs), and patient care technicians (PCTs) provide 24-hour bedside care.
Physician Assistants (PA) and Nurse Practitioners (PA) are also important members of the healthcare team, working alongside our physicians to provide medical care that is both timely and efficient.
Physician Assistants (PA) are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, and prescribe medication.
Nurse Practitioners (NP) are nurse clinicians who blend clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions with an emphasis on disease prevention and health management.
Patients may receive visits from other specialists in the hospital who are part of their healthcare team. These specialists may include:
- Respiratory, Speech, Physical & Occupational Therapists
- Unit Secretary
- Social Worker
- Home Care Liaison
- Utilization Management Nurse