Complaining to hospital higher ups (sorta OT)

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inflamed
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   Posted 6/25/2010 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Have any of you complained to hospital administration, can you share the response? I have a concern with my son's care (he's in an understaffed NICU right now). I want to complain, but I don't want a backlash either. He's in another week and I cannot be there every moment.

Here's the deal. My son needs to be in the hospital another week. The hospital has been cutting nurses for budget reasons. He is currently in a unit with 7 babies to 2 nurses. This level is unacceptable for a daycare, so it certainly seems unacceptable for a unit of sick and premature babies. The nurses can't even answer the door or phone at times because they are busy with babies. You can't just put them down in an instant you know. That's with all going smoothly, which won't always be the case. Even though each nurse is wonderful, I am scared that this could result in a dangerous mistake.

The hospital has a patient advocate who said only "to be honest all hospitals are making these cuts for budget reasons." He gave me the number for the charge nurse. That has no answer and no voice mail. Conveniently, my GI is on the board. I decided to email him. Now I am worried, could pursuing this backfire? I'm sure the nurses agree with me. They are overworked and are getting their pay cut as well. I just don't want to do anything that could make things worse in the next week, but I also want things to improve because I cannot be with my son every moment he is there.
Mom to a healthy Pentasa baby and pregnant with #2. 5+ years remission, woo hoo!


ivy6
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   Posted 6/25/2010 3:06 PM (GMT -7)   
They *say* no, it can't backfire, but bureaucrats are human, and humans can hold grudges.

That said, I'm a community rep on a hospital board that deals with this sort of complaint, and in that board there is a genuine desire to listen, to improve, and to get things right. It's important to remember that hospitals have accreditation and ratings to deal with, and that any constructive feedback can help them to improve.

I'm not sure how things are in your country, though, so I'd suggest that you investigate to see how the system really works in your hospital, and work from there.

And if all hospitals are making cutbacks because of budget shortfalls, then perhaps it might be helpful to write to whoever's responsible for the budget?

I'm sorry your little man is in ICU :-(. It's important that you can feel confident he's getting the care he needs.

Ivy.
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ivy6
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   Posted 6/25/2010 3:07 PM (GMT -7)   
ps. Realistically speaking, they're unlikely to be able to increase staffing within the next week or so, so perhaps you can wait until your son is discharged, and then speak out?
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Wolfie40
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Date Joined Dec 2008
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   Posted 6/25/2010 3:42 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm still trying to figure out why there making cutbacks. They charge so much to be in the hospital and then nickle and dime you to death for little stuff like a bandaid at $10, Asprin at $20 etc.
My opinion is there are too many Bosses and not enough workers. Thats where the money goes!!
It's frustrating sometimes!
Diagnosed with Crohns in 2001
First and hopefully last Ileocecectomy 2/18/2009

Medications:Humira,  Asacol, FolicAcid,  Multivitamin, 1000mg Calcium, Vitamin D, Probiotics, Pepcid Complete, Questran,  Monthly B-12 injections.

Living a Great life with my Wife and my two Chocolate Labs
Hunter & Hailey.
I love them dearly.


Zanne
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   Posted 6/25/2010 5:20 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm sorry your son is so sick. Could you speak with one of the nurses to see what their take is on how best to approach the compliant? I agree that the nurses would probably appreciate your complaint as a show of support, but it also will probably not do much in the very near future.
Suzanne

CD 20 years officially, 30 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Managing with strict low residue diet, keeping symptoms to a minimum. All test show small amount of ulceration, still have occasional blockages. But still have a great time with my 2 daughters and husband!


Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....


stmprkb
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 33
   Posted 6/25/2010 7:18 PM (GMT -7)   
On my recent hospitalization- I was in a local hospital, Not in Miami, where I usually go. I had such problems with the nursing. I know they were understaffed and I was on the "we don't know what is wrong with you floor". But, after three days of not having my bed changed--- and having to beg for a new gown, D everywhere- I asked to speak to the nursing supervisor. The hospital had a journal beside the bed, that the nurses and staff had to sign. I GAVE NAMES--- I was so fed up, I did not care at that point. I was taking care of myself anyway. I eventually talked to the management.

On the day they released me, I felt WORSE--- then when I went in (still no dx). I called my GI, told her I felt worse, and I wanted to go to Miami. She stepped up... and ordered more tests, including the pill cam and blood work. By the end of the week, she dx Crohns.

I am writing a letter as well... I am naming names. I am a teacher, budget cuts are everywhere... but I still am committed to teaching children!

As for your son... since he is a child, I would advocate profesionally, not rudely--- and afterwards, WRITE THE LETTER.

Good Luck and prayers go out to you.

Kim in FL

CrohnieToo
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Date Joined May 2003
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   Posted 6/26/2010 2:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Only TWO nurses for SEVEN babies??? In NICU? My heart goes out to you. I would be in a panic! That's not even an acceptable nurse/patient ratio on a general, we don't know what is wrong w/you floor!

I would agree that its best to talk to the nurses about what you can do. And once I had my baby outta there I WOULD be writing letterS! To the hospital accredidation board, to my state and federal legislators, to THE hospital board and to anyone else I could think of - and one of my suggestions would be to CUT THE SALARIES AND PERKS of all administration and those who do not provide hands on care or procedures for the patients.

This entire country has its priorities all screwed up. Riches to the higher ups who provide no direct product, care or service and peanuts, if that, to those who are critical to the making of the product, providing of the service or care.
My computer says I need to upgrade my brain to be compatible with its new software.


grumpygi
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 266
   Posted 6/26/2010 8:04 PM (GMT -7)   
inflamed: Hi, I am sorry your son has been hospitalized, this is traumtic for you as well as your family. I hope that he is on the mend and you are getting plenty of rest and taking care of yourself also.

As for your concerns, you always have a right to voice those concerns to hospital administration and they are obligated to respond and legitimately address those concerns. I hear your worry regarding 2 nurses for 7 patients -but staff to patient ratios are built around patient acuity-are the infant's being gavage fed, have IV's, on ventilators etc. Some units handle work flow better than others, if staff RN's are busy and unable to respond appropriately to situational needs -then those issues warrant being addressed. It seems only fair to start at the unit manager level and move upwards based on responses and genuineness of interest and system problem solving abilities. Starting at the top down doesn't necessitate a better response, busy administrators are going to send the issue back to the unit level to be addressed also. Google Josie's law in regards to this . . .there is a team in each facility to address these types of issues.

If you are concerned about retribution, which I would hope wouldn't and shouldn't happen, check on the web page of the hospital your son is in - there should be a way to contact the system or just ask to speak to the unit manager. Go in prepared, list your concerns, specific instances, what you see and how it makes you feel. Make suggestions such as have an aide available during infant feeding times to take phone calls, greet visitors and provide other assistance as necessary. Best always, and remember none of this is your fault - neonatologists are the the most conservative physicians in the medical field (no one wants to experiment or test new meds/procedures on infants, no institutional boards of review would ever grant permission for research on such vulnerable populations) and so they are inclined to over treat with antibiotics than under treat infants who have minimal natural ability to ward off or recover from infections in immature immunity of the newly born infant.

Take care, Barb
newby

Post Edited (grumpygi) : 6/26/2010 9:11:56 PM (GMT-6)


mmckenna
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Date Joined Jan 2006
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   Posted 6/27/2010 1:49 AM (GMT -7)   
http://www.jointcommission.org/

The Joint Commission is the group that does a lot of the hospital accreditation. You might want to see if this hospital is accredited by them. If so, you should be able to contact them and raise your concerns. Around here in California, the Joint Commission seems to be the ones that you go to when all else fails. The hospital should/may have a patient advocate, they should be able to help you.

We had to use the patient advocate and threaten to contact the Joint Commission when my brother in law was in the hospital after a near fatal motorcycle accident. One of his RN's nearly killed him due to incompetence and failure to assess her patient. Even with repeated requests from his family, she refused to do her job. A few complaints got things resolved really quickly.

Like others have said, I'd talk to the RN's in the NICU and see what they say, I'm sure they are unhappy with the ratio also. I know 3 NICU RN's and they all take the patient care very seriously. Hospital bureaucrats are a big problem!
Matthew McKenna,
Joey's dad.
Crohn's Disease and Guillian-Barre' Syndrome.
Remicade, 6MP and a few of their friends.

"I'm just along for the ride."


CrohnieToo
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Date Joined May 2003
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   Posted 6/27/2010 7:54 AM (GMT -7)   
It amazes me. There is a nurse's union in Mnpls, MN currently having done a one day strike over nurse/patient ratio and compensation and have scheduled a full strike beginning July 5th over the same issues. Public opinion appears to be strongly against them, as much a union retaliation issue as against the nurses themselves. I just don't understand the vicious anti-union sentiment surfacing in this country. And I sure do not understand condemning the nurses for their concerns and opposition to setting nurse/patient ratio standards!!! No wonder so many people are dying in hospital today!!!! I haven't seen any comments against the salaries and benefits of the upper echelons of the involved hospitals and that boggles my mind as much or more!!!
My computer says I need to upgrade my brain to be compatible with its new software.


inflamed
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Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1340
   Posted 6/27/2010 11:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the support. I think I will follow up when he's out. You're right there's no chance of adding staff this week. Some combos of nurses seem to handle the ratio just fine. The nurses on Thurs were obviously overwhelmed though. Talking to the unit head and charge nurse accomplished nothing. They claim the ratio is "cushy" compared to other places. Still doesn't mean it's the ideal ratio. This is one of the top 2 in the state, but I can tell they are making cuts.

Barb -- an assistant is what they really need. They get pulled away from the babies to do things a non-nurse could do. I think no matter what there should always be two people in the room.

I can't believe the MN nurses aren't getting support. I swear every nurse I've ever worked with has put the patient first, and wanted to give the best care they could.
Mom to a healthy Pentasa baby and pregnant with #2. 5+ years remission, woo hoo!


Zazucat
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 177
   Posted 6/27/2010 9:24 PM (GMT -7)   
First- inflamed, best wishes to your son for good health! It's awful that you're in such a position, and having to worry about a lack of patient care when you're already stressed and worried.
 
I live in Minneapolis and I've been following the nurses' strike closely, mostly because I work in healthcare (not a nurse) and this affects my job. The nurses are making their public stance as "Patient care first" and saying that there should be firm limits on nurse to patient ratios, and the way that hospitals staff by floating nurses to units outside of their specialty. This is a very valid point; however, the nurses are also demanding increases in their pension fund paid by the hospitals, and annual raises above the cost of living increase- this is where the public support falls apart. In this economy, where average people have to pay into a 401k, there is little support for professionals (even valuable, hard-working, and essential nurses) who work 16 hours a week and recieve full benefits to be demanding more money for their pensions. There is no nursing shortage here, a friend of mine is a newly graduated RN and hasn't been able to find a job anywhere within 4 hours of the Twin Cities. Hosptials are losing money and making budget cuts and, yes, providing less and less quality patient care, and while the nurses certainly demand fair compensation for a demanding job, their requests are not well received by the public facing their own personal financial problems.
 
That said, as a patient, I hope that the next time I'm in the hospital, my nurse is not too overworked or inexperienced to provide the care I need! I hope they come to a good resolution soon.

CrohnieToo
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Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 9448
   Posted 6/28/2010 3:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Only 16 hours a week?? Most nurses I know work THREE 12 hour days each week and more on rotating weeks.

And if anyone is going to resent nurses' pay and/or benefits WHY don't they resent the pay, benefits and perks of the upper echelons at these hospitals?? Priorities are screwed up in this country!!! Big time!!!!! One good nurse is worth more than 10 CEOs when you are sick or recovering from surgery!
My computer says I need to upgrade my brain to be compatible with its new software.


inflamed
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1340
   Posted 6/28/2010 6:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Agreed Crohnietoo!! The nurses here are on the 12 hour days.
Mom to a healthy Pentasa baby and pregnant with #2. 5+ years remission, woo hoo!


grumpygi
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 266
   Posted 6/28/2010 8:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi:  I think unions and the medical field are diametrically opposite of each other.  Unions sound and look good on the surface but have layers of self administration that add to health care costs.  Used to work for a unionized hospital - it creeped me out that sane professional people could resort to tire slashing and vindicitive behavior to get what they want when the contract was being renegotiated.  Scary. 
newby


vixen
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Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 794
   Posted 6/28/2010 12:34 PM (GMT -7)   
It apears to me that people these days become a nurse because in general there is work available for this profession and not because it is their vocation! Myself, dh, dd and ds have all had operations and I can hand on heart say that there has only been one 'good' nurse-so good in fact that a letter went to the head of nursing at the hospital praising her. The rest of them appeared to spend most of their time eating toast and drinking tea in their rest rooms!! Just our experiences!

cleo35
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 430
   Posted 7/1/2010 1:13 PM (GMT -7)   
My son is a nurse back in grad school after two years at Mayo on the ICU. They work the 3-12 hr. days because they want to people. And any nurse who would "retaliate" against any patient much less an infant is in the wrong career. I'm sure the nurses on that floor are just as frustrated as you are mom. Where is this health care "mecca" anyway? Is it a small community hospital; suburban or large teaching facility?
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