I’m here in the cold northeast helping my 80something aunt out for a couple of days as she recovers from shoulder replacement surgery. It’s been a great real-life example of the good and the bad in our healthcare system.
The good part is that the surgery went well and the hospital arranged for post-discharge physical and occupational therapy, as well as a home health nurse to check on my aunt, all of whom are great.
But the main problems come with the coordination of care for my aunt, as well as the communication. Our changing healthcare system relies on greater patient empowerment and patient-centered care. That, in turn, relies on educating patients about their condition. That so did not happen here. Here’s where I think the failures occurred:
— My aunt’s doctors did not set realistic expectations. She talked to several people who’d had the surgery before who told her what a breeze it would be. So when she experienced swelling, bruising, nausea, pain, etc., she thought something was terribly wrong and she panicked. Her doctors — and the nurses — should have prepared her for what such a major surgery would involve, particularly for someone her age.
— Her … Continue Reading