From the Twilight Zone to Empowerment

The term “patient empowerment” triggered a link to the following from Kim’s Emergiblog: (we’re sorry – this link has been removed for malware)

Kim is an emergency room nurse who blogs for other emergency room nurses. This particular post was of interest because it focuses on patient advocacy and respect, at least once you get past the very 1950’s perfection photo. Looks like Rod Serling got there first.

What is invaluable for you, my patient-reader, is what Kim calls “responsibility from both sides of the gurney,” meaning, what it is that providers are expected to do, and what it is patients must also be responsible for, in the patient-provider working relationship.

Quoting from Kim:

The health care provider must provide safe, appropriate care.

  • The patient is responsible for giving a complete medical history along with an accurate medication list or bringing someone with them to the ER/appointment who does have that information.

The health care provider must provide efficient care in a timely manner.

  • The patient is responsible for being at their appointments on time. They are responsible for understanding that in an emergency department, there are no guarantees as to wait times, that sicker patients will be seen first and “sicker” is defined by the triage nurse/emergency staff. Most emergency rooms have this information posted on the walls. In two languages.

The health care provider must be able to empathize with the patient’s concerns/anxiety.

  • The patient is responsible for letting their health care provider know what they need – HCPs aren’t mind readers. They must also understand that there are other patients in the emergency department/office and that the time available to spend with a patient is finite.

The health care provider must protect the patient’s confidentiality.

  • The patient is responsible for staying in their room/area and not asking about the condition of other patients. They are also responsible for bringing only the necessary visitors with them and not the entire clan.

The health care provider must provide for continuity of care.

  • The patient is responsible for making the follow up appointments and keeping the appointments as advised. They are responsible for taking their medications as prescribed and informing their HCP of any problems/issues that will prevent that.

The health care provider must treat the patient with courtesy.

  • The patient is responsible for being able to give their undivided attention to the HCP during their exam. This means no cell phone or text messaging, no chatting with friends while the HCP is trying to interview you.

I suggest you read the entire post if you have the time. It’s all good.

Thanks Kim!

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Trisha Torrey
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