One of the most frustration things about having a loved one in the hospital is conveying all the information that needs to be conveyed to the hospital staff and making sure that it’s followed. Things can get confused and mistakes can happen. Doctors and nurses aren’t always on the same page.
I made a complete list of all my Dad’s medication and his allergies, which was given to the medical staff when my Dad was admitted. Later, I found out through a relative who went to visit my Dad, that the nursing staff was unclear about the dosages. Even though I wrote everything, they were still confused.
I called the head nurse and we went over everything. She was very clear about his medications. I made sure she understood he was allergic to Spiriva and he was not to be given it at all cost. It makes his breathing worse for whatever reason.
Imagine my anger when my oldest sister called me the next evening. She was sitting with my Dad when one of the nurse’s came in with my Dad’s medication. My sister listed to her rattle off the names of the drugs and she heard “Spiriva”. She stopped her before she gave my Dad the one thing he is allergic to.
I called the hospital and made it very clear that under no circumstances was he to be given this medication. It turns out his pulmonary specialist had visited that day. He prescribed the Spiriva even though we had it noted everywhere that it was a no no.
I learned a few things rom this experience. First, don’t expect the patient to be able to convey important information to the medical staff. My Dad heard Spiriva but in his loopy state had no idea what the nurse was talking about. Second, make sure that everyone really, really, really understands the patients allergies and intolerances. Third, the pharmacy is supposed to be given a list of all the medications a patient can’t have. Make sure when the person is admitted that everything has been relayed to the right people. It’s an extra hassle, but will save headaches and heartache later. If my Dad had been given Spiriva, his lungs would have seize up on him. He would have been back at square one.
It’s difficult to feel like you are in the best hands when mistakes like this happen. You must be your loved one’s advocate. Don’t assume that because you relayed information, it’s being followed. You have to be sure that everything is perfectly clear to avoid mishaps.