Arthur Shorr (Former COO and SVP of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) gives expert video advice on: What will happen when I am admitted to the hospital?; What will happen when I am admitted to the hospital for same-day surgery? and more...
What will happen when I am admitted to the hospital?
When you're admitted to the hospital, you'll be assigned a room and a bed number, and will be taken there by wheelchair. A nurse will welcome you to the unit and begin your nursing assessment. She'll take your vital signs, ask you about your medical history, and do a physical examination. They may very well start an intravenous line - an IV - just so that doctors will have quick access, if your medical situation requires that. The nurse or an aide will help orient you to the hospital room, show you where the call button is to summon help, how to operate the television, and generally get you comfortable in bed. If you're allowed to walk around, you'll be shown where the restroom is, and you may even be advised by the nurses as to when to expect your doctor to first visit you.
What will happen when I am admitted to the hospital for same-day surgery?
When you're admitted to the hospital for same day surgery (that means surgery on the day of admission), you'll arrive and be taken to a pre-operative surgical waiting room area, asked to change into a gown and safeguard your valuables, and then be interviewed by a registered nurse and anesthesiologist. You'll be asked to fill out forms, you'll have your vital signs checked, you'll be asked to asked to describe the surgery you're expecting, you'll be given a sedative to relax, and ultimately you'll be taken to the operating room. Please understand that before the actual procedure starts, the staff, the nurses, and the physicians at the hospital will go through what's called a time-out. The time-out is a quiet time before the surgery starts, where again to maximize patient safety, your identity is verified one more time, the surgical procedure is verbally announced by all the people who will be involved in it, there'll be a verification as to which part of your body will be operated on. If there's an opportunity to be in one of two places, the nurses will review the medical records to make sure it's complete, make sure the X-rays and all the documentation and instrumentation that the doctors need to perform the surgery are ready and available. At that point, once everything is clearly in place, the doctors will leave the room and scrub to get into a sterile condition, and return to begin the surgical procedure.
What are some typical forms I will have to fill out during admissions?
You will need to fill out an authorization for the hospital allowing them to bill your insurance company, a general consent form for hospital services, and an authorization to release information about your care to the insurance company and to other healthcare organizations or professionals who are involved in your care.
Why do I have to sign 'consent forms' when I'm admitted to the hospital?
At the time of admission, the hospital will ask you to sign a general consent form. This is called a consent for hospital services or conditions of admission, and it includes your consent for routine blood tests, chest X-rays, nursing services, and the care provided to you by the hospital in the normal course of taking care of you.
What is 'informed consent for treatment'?
Consent for treatment is a formal document that reflects your understanding of the procedure and your willingness to have that procedure. You have, as every adult has, the right to control all decisions that are going to be made about your body, and you don't give up that right when you seek medical care. When there's a medical emergency, and you cannot consent for treatment, in your best interest care may be given to you. But in the absence of a medical emergency, a physician is required to solicit an informed consent from you, and this means they must provide you with specific information that allows you, the patient, to make an informed decision about whether or not you wish to proceed with that treatment. The elements of an informed consent include: the name of the procedure in language that you as a layperson can understand; the potential benefits and risks involved in that procedure; the likelihood of success; the ramifications of not moving forward with this procedure; a review of all the alternative procedures or treatment methods that you might wish to consider. Consent for treatment must identify the primary surgeon and any assistants who will be involved in your care. It must be a disclosure of whether there's any business or personal relationships that may be considered a conflict of interest. All of this must be done by the physician, the surgeon, with you, and you must understand it completely. In addition to this, when you come to the hospital, to again to maximize patient safety and protect your rights as a patient, the hospital will independently review this information again, to make sure that which was done between you and the physician was done properly. Once that verification process is completed, you will be asked to sign a consent form at the hospital to indicate that the review process done by the hospital was done properly and completely. And when all of this is done in this way, this is called an informed consent.
Can a hospital disclose my name and location while I am in the hospital?
A hospital cannot disclose your name or information without your permission. But please be aware that there are lists that are in the hospital that do include patients names and room numbers, which are available to hospital employees and affiliates. For example, if you identify a certain religious affiliation when you are admitted, a member of the clergy will get such a list with your name and room number on it and visit you. If you wish to have total privacy, please advise the admissions office in the pre-admission process and/or once you get to the hospital of your desire to have no information about you transmitted to anybody. It is also a very good idea to advise your physician and your nurse of your privacy needs.
Can my family or friends learn about my status while I am in the hospital?
Your friends and family cannot learn about your status without your permission, while you are in hospital. People are given very limited information about a patient's hospital condition, usually stable, critical, or something of that nature. If there's a change in status, people may be advised of the change, but they will not be given any specific information about your condition.