What can I do if I feel like my needs are not being met while in a hospital?
I had not frequented the health care system too often before becoming a mother. Five years and two children later, we have had surgery nearly every year since 2017. We have experienced insufficient pain control, have been ignored by the medical team while inpatient, received inappropriate discharge instructions, and have been inappropriately discharged from the emergency department multiple times.
Hospital-based patient advocates have become a resource that we activate when medical providers are unresponsive to our concerns. Hospitals may have a team of people dedicated to addressing the concerns and investigating the complaints of patients. While I have found patient advocacy teams to be of great value with objectively addressing our concerns, it has been unfortunate that we have needed to file complaints with the level of frequency that we have. Should you have difficulty understanding the information that you are given or finding a resolution with your provider directly, you can attempt the following:
1) Asking to speak with the provider's supervisor. Often supervisors have more experience in the facility you are in and can provide a more objective response.
2) Call the patient advocacy department (during business hours if after business hours leave a message). You should be able to call the hospital's main number and request to be transferred.
3) Document the names of people you have spoken with and topics discussed.
4) Write a letter to the hospital's administration to document the issue from the beginning to the time of resolution.
For some additional credible references on what hospital patient advocates do, I have provided some links below (I do not own the rights to the content that is within these references):
Health Net Federal Services. (n.d.). Hospital Patient Advocates. Retrieved October 5, 2021, from https://www.hnfs.com/content/hnfs/home/tw/bene/res/hospital-stay/patient_advocates.html
Cigna. (2021, February 11). Hospital Patient Advocates. Hospital Patient Advocates. https://www.cigna.com/individuals-families/health-wellness/hw/hospital-patient-advocates-abo4385
Author: Alita-Geri Carter, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC