I recently attended a conference titled the International Conference on Patient Advocacy. The meeting brought together advocates from around the world to learn, network, and celebrate their work in patient advocacy.
One of the attendees, Elizabeth Bailey, brought a book she had written that was in its 2nd edition to share with the attendees. The book is titled: The Patient’s Checklist 10 Simple Hospital Checklists to Keep you Safe, Sane, and Organized. The book has received high marks from Patient Safety Experts and leading organizations involved in patient safety.
I read the book on the flight home from the conference. Knowing that medical errors is 3rd leading cause of death in the United States, I felt that this book is a ‘must read’ for everyone as it gives people the tools to be active participants in their healthcare so they can have a fighting chance in the complex and confusing healthcare system. I felt the book was so important that I am sharing it with you, the readers of Nurses Advocates.
The book opens with an explanation of what happened to Elizabeth’s father who was the impetus for her to write the book. He was an active and energetic 81-year-old man who led a full life, till he started to experience double vision. He saw a leading ophthalmologist who thought he had Temporal Arthritis. He recommended a biopsy to diagnose the disorder. To decrease swelling, the patient was given a prescription for prednisone. The script was written for 100mg daily! When the patient and his daughter went to the pharmacy to fill the script, the pharmacists told them the prescription was written for an unusually high dose of prednisone and advised them to call the doctor to check on it. The patient did not want to question the doctor, so he took the medication as ordered till he had a full-blown psychotic episode. His three daughters’ noticed symptoms and changes in their father and called the doctor, but they did not get any help so they tried to handle things as daughters do by trying to rationalize with him, but to no avail. He continued to exhibit bizarre behaviors till finally he was taken to the ED after being lost on a drive he insisted on taking. The story does not get better, but continues with multiple errors and avoidable mishaps every step of the way till he had a full blown psychotic event that landed him in the hospital for an extended time.
The author points out how one mistake, turns into a second mistake and on and on until there is a major crisis or death. She talks about how challenging it is to get doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to talk to each other and to the family especially after a medical error happens. It is a story that each of us knows but tolerates because we are too busy to take the time to find the root cause of medical errors, address communication challenges and systems problems that plague our healthcare system.
The Checklists that are part of the book are important documents that can help people, patients and their families be prepared for a visit to a doctor or for a hospitalization. They empower people to ask questions and to voice their concerns if they have questions about their care. They encourage people to seek second and sometimes third opinions if things ‘don’t make sense or the patient/family has a suspicion feeling as things are ‘just not right’. They are the tools people need to be active participants in their care and are the first line of defense in preventing medical errors.
There are great quotes throughout the book that raise awareness about the challenges in the healthcare system and remind us that we can and must do better when caring for people in our complex healthcare system.
There are checklists for medications, doctors’ appointment, and space where a patient or a caregiver can write down what happens at each visit. The documentation will help a patient and their caregivers paint a picture and give any healthcare professionals who takes the read the information insight what is happening with a patient in-between hospitalizations or doctors’ visits.The book is easy to read and the checklists can be duplicated so other members of the family can use them.
I highly recommend that hospitals purchase these books and give them to every patient who enters the hospital. They will help people to learn how they can be their own best advocate.
To review the book and learn more about the author visit https://elizabethbaileybooks.com/books. It is worth you time and it may save your life!
Thanks for reading this weeks Blog Post. I love when you send me your comments and experiences as it helps me know that I am providing information that helps you. Please feel free to share your comments in the comment section below.
Another important resource for improving patient safety is the Care Partner Project. There is a wealth of information on the site for all to take advantage of. You can visit by clicking here. I am on the speaker’s bureau for this organization and can speak on a variety of topics. If you are interested in having me, do an Inservice for your teams, email me at [email protected] and we can discuss a date and time.
Have a good week and be safe.
Anne Llewellyn, the Nurse Advocate!