Thursday, April 3, 2014


Med Page a few weeks ago had a link to a PLOS article about health ideas from the 1865's City of Health.  Some of it seemed right up there with leeches in my no longer relevant category.

But one idea seemed to be one of those health "duhs" that my experience finds ignored now, at least in the US: A wide door that allows patient beds to be rolled outside on pleasant days!  I wanted to add this to my   If I Bought A Hospital list.  It would seem like a step up from those window shades blocked by chairs in one hospital.  No one had time to put shades up and down, or even thought about it.  

Every day now I read somewhere about evidence of faster healing when patients are exposed to nature, or at least nature views.  (Yet one hospital designer wrote about the need for hair dryers!)

Reality is creeping in.  The world is more crowded now, with no outdoor places for benches and wheelchairs, much less beds.  Hospitals are cutting caregiving staff in some places.  Twelve hour shifts are leaving caregivers exhausted.  

 If it's true that millions more people are insured for the first time now, (not just switching companies)  there will be an influx of hospital patients -- more crowding and less time for care?  Certainly no time to roll beds down from the 14th floor.  And some will wait a long time even to be in the hospital, because they can't get in to see a capable doctor in the predicted doctor shortage.  

But even before that, we've had another variable:  lawyers. Imagine the legal mind picturing the patient forgotten outdoors for eight hours or so. (Even I can imagine that, I confess.)  And there's the same legal mind that put those sirens in hospital beds in California, to warn the surrounding neighborhood that a patient might be getting out of bed.  Lawyers do have a voice in what is spent and whether rolling beds outside is dangerous not just for patients but for the hospital.

Why do you care?  I hope you care because money is being spent on lavish reception areas rather than lavish patient gardens.  And as I've griped about before, money is being spent on resort-worthy visitors' areas, on impressive parking garages, and on gardens patients never visit.  I hope you care because a dose of nature may get you home faster than a hair dryer. 

Regardless of words like "payer" the patient is a customer.  In the vast majority of cases, we are in that hospital bed because we went without something to pay insurance premiums.  And we will go without something else to pay what insurance doesn't cover.  Top level administrators, however, won't have to do without much of anything, even after taxes.  

I welcome your comments.

Be well..

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