Sunday, June 17, 2012

Put Ice ON it

I Don't Get It
So I get my shot and I ask the doctor about any side effects.  She tells me it may swell and get red but ice and Motrin will help.  It is a bit uncomfortable so I begin sucking on ice cubes and tape a Motrin pill to the area that has swelled.  Just kidding!!!!!
But it’s really not a joke.  Many, many patients don’t get the doctor’s information correctly.  The way this was explained to me may have been confusing to someone who doesn’t know what to do with their directions, can’t read well or speak another language.  In all of our lives we often assume people know what we know.  That comes from using words that aren’t used by everyone or not encouraging someone to reflect back instructions or information.
As a patients advocate we need to be sure we are hearing exactly what the doctor or nurse is telling the patient to do.  Think of ways the information can be jumbled and assume the patient isn’t hearing it because it can get jumbled or they are distracted. 
If I were with an advocate when my doctor gave me instructions to just use ice and Motrin for pain, what are some of the things you could have said to help?
Doctor, can you explain exactly how much ice and how much Motrin?  Can you explain further what to do with the ice and Motrin?
Doctor, how long should we use ice and Motrin or is there another medication we can use?
Ask the patient to explain what she will do.  “Ilene, what will you do with the ice and Motrin?” The response should be in front of the doctor so when I say I will suck on the ice, the doctor knows additional explanation is needed.
Thanks for reading!

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