Is a hospital stay in your near future? Stay out of the hospital in the summer months if you can, but if you have to go, learn how to prepare for a successful hospital stay.
A good friend of mine has to have rotator cuff surgery. She told me that she was planning to wait on the surgery until a number of important events had passed. Which meant she would be in a hospital sometime in late July. I suggested that she schedule the surgery much sooner for a number of reasons.
July is the worst time to be in a hospital because of the turn over of interns and residents. It’s called the "July Phenomenon." A study done by two Harvard University professors, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that the medical-training period in July is associated with a 2% increase in length of stay and 4% increase in mortality rates. This translates to 1,500 to 2,750 additional deaths each year.
Because of the "July Phenomenon" medical errors can spike.
Physicians can go on vacation right after they do your surgery. If you have any complications, you want to be able to call or see the doctor who did your surgery. Ask when your surgeon is going on vacation to make sure he or she will be in town for the week or two following your surgery.
"Ask when your surgeon is going on vacation to make sure he or she will be in town for the week or two following your surgery."
Winter is commonly known as "flu season" and now according to a recent study, summer may be the "bacterial season." According to researchers from Oregon State University, bacterial infections (Gram-negative bacteria) can peak in the heat of summer and are the frequent cause of urinary tract, gastrointestinal and respiratory infections as well as pneumonia.
As with the holiday season in December, nurse-to-patient ratios can increase during summer months, particularly in July and August. So if you have to have surgery in a hospital, request that a family member or good friend be with you as much as possible to monitor your care.
After you are released from the hospital, your doctor may not be on call or may be away. This may pose a problem if you need pain or sleep medication as the doctor who is covering for your physician does not know you and may hesitate to prescribe.
If you have to have surgery during one of the summer months:
Choosing the right hospital will also make your stay more successful:
Martine Ehrenclou, MA, is the author of Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide To Get Your Loved One Out Alive; www.CriticalConditions.com.