Sunday, May 1, 2016
Is Your hospital an A or Clean?
Hospital Report Cards
Another release of hospital report cards can leave you shocked that a hospital you thought was wonderful, is now reported at a “C” or worse. A hospital where you were injured, the nurses were not available to you or you got a hospital acquired infection is now reported to have an “A”. What does this mean to the average patient and / or family?
It means plenty, and it means nothing. How do you choose your hospital? It’s probably where your doctor tells you he wants you to go. Some people may then look at the Department of Health website, or Leapfrog hospital report cards and then what? If you don’t like what you see will you tell your doctor you don’t want to go? Will you look for a new doctor in the midst of a heart attack? Maybe you can start looking for a new doctor who is affiliated with the A rated hospitals now, just to find out that if you were admitted, your doctor doesn’t go there to visit you because they have hospitalists working there.
I think the report cards are for the hospitals to brag to each other. They use this as an opportunity to market in the news or on a commercial. But, even with that, its buyer beware. Hospital report cards don’t guarantee patient safety for each patient. It’s just another tool to help make a decision.
There is no guarantee even the hospitals with an A rating year after year there won’t be a medication mix up, a surgical error or a patient won’t get an infection. There is no guarantee that the food tray will be within reach, the nurse will remember to wash her hands or the garbage won’t overflow. There is no guarantee that you will be treated with dignity by every employee or you will understand your medication or discharge process. There is never a guarantee. Just keep vigilant, active in your care, have your family and / or friends as your support system and chances are things might go better than expected – at any hospital.