Picture
Jim says "Get up and walk!"

The Importance of Walking After Appendix Cancer Surgery (CRS and HIPEC)

By PMP Pal, Jim M, cancer free for five years!










After surgery, get up as soon as your healthcare team recommends and as often as they allow. Generally, your nurses will help you to stand up and walk a few steps the first day after surgery, including while you are still in ICU. You will feel unsteady on your feet, therefore, a nurse will assist you.

During the days following surgery set a goal to walk a little farther every day. Begin with two steps, four steps, out the door of your room, half way down the hospital corridor, and so forth. Gradually you will walk the length of the corridor once/twice/three times! Your IV pole will be your “walking partner!”

Getting out of bed and walking may make a difference in your recovery time. Eventually you will be strong enough to stroll down the corridor without a nursing assistant or family member to accompany you!


Articles posted in PMP Pals and on www.pmppals.org are written from the perspectives of patients and their families and are not intended to substitute for licensed, professional legal or medical advice. Each patient is unique and should seek specific counsel from their own licensed healthcare professional. Copyright © 2012 by the PMP Pals’ Network. All rights reserved. Derechos de PMP Pals Network@2012. Todos los derechos reservados.





 
 
What’s Causing my “Oversensitivity” After Surgery?

Cheryl from the USA is recuperating from CRS with HIPEC,  reports that her skin and body feel overly sensitive and is especially to tactile sensations. She seeks answers to the cause of this “over-sensitivity.”

PMP Pals responds:

There may be one or more reasons you are aware of tactile sensitivy and all of them should be explored with a licensed healthcare provider.

Among these reasons are:

Your body’s reaction to medications, including pain medications.  In addition to your prescribing physician, your pharmacist can provide you with detailed information about possible side effects from any medications you may be taking, including OTC (over the counter) medications, supplements and/or herbs.

Post-traumatic stress . Surgery, alone can be traumatic, not only to the body but to the mind/emotions. During the days or weeks of hospitalization immediately following surgery, patients are awakened at all hours of the day and night to have medications administered, bandages changed, injections, examinations, blood drawn and a variety of invasive procedures necessary for post-operative monitoring. Is there any wonder that some patients experience a case of “post-operative nerves?”

Undiagnosed/undetected allergies . Allergies can occur at any age or stage of life. Allergies can be caused by exposure to something environmental, something ingested or a medication. Explore these possibilities with a licensed healthcare provider.

Compromised immune system. Patients being treated for a chronic illness, such as cancer, and those in the midst of treatment, including surgery and chemotherapy, may experience a compromised immune system. Ask your licensed healthcare provider to refer you to professionals who can assist you in strengthening your immune system, perhaps through nutrition, exercise and adequate rest.

Insufficient sleep. Insomnia is not uncommon among cancer patients, especially those recuperating from surgery. Seek methods of improving the quality of your sleep with adequate pain management, and a comfortable bedtime environment.

Stress relief. Do you schedule time to engage in stress relief during the day? What activities did you enjoy prior to surgery and which of those can you enjoy during recuperation? Can you find new methods of stress relief, perhaps even through passive measure e.g. watching a comedy on TV, while you recuperate? Distractions through stress relief, including hobbies, may help de sensitize your body to the periods of over stimulation you are now experiencing.

For more information see the Coping with Cancer  page under SUPPORT at
www.pmppals.org


Articles posted in PMP Pals and on www.pmppals.org are written from the perspective of patients and their family caregivers and are not intended to substitute for licensed, professional legal or medical advice. Individual should seek counsel from licensed professionals regarding their specific needs. Copyright © 2012 by PMP Pals' Network/All rights reserved. Visit us on the web at www.pmppals.org


 
 
Why Doesn’t My Surgeon Specialist Visit Me Daily?


Most PMP Pal members choose to schedule their surgeries at university hospitals. The majority of our surgeon specialists are professors; the young physicians who do visit you daily (more commonly twice a day) are their students, who carefully report on your daily condition, under the supervision of your surgeon specialist.

Due to the detailed nature of our surgeries, it is not uncommon for our operations to last eight to fourteen hours, sometimes even longer. The time surgeons spend in the operating room does not include prep time to evaluate and plan the treatment of your individual case; this requires additional time.

The long hours in the operating room, combined with hours devoted to consulting with newly diagnosed patients in the clinic, time devoted to research studies, time scheduled for coordination and preparation of symposiums and conferences, etc, leaves little time for daily bedside visits with patients in the hospital. Therefore, frequent monitoring of the patient’s recuperation, as conducted by the nursing staff and physicians in residence/training, provides the surgeon specialist with the opportunity to supervise your recuperation without daily visits.

When your surgeon does visit you, don’t be surprised if s/he pops in very early in the morning (on the way to surgery) or very late at night (after surgery has been completed.)


Copyright © 2011 by PMP Pals’ Network/Gabriella Graham. All rights reserved.

Articles published by the PMP Pals’ Network and posted on www.pmppals.org are not intended as a substitute for professional medical or legal care. Individuals should seek the counsel of licensed healthcare professionals regarding their own specific needs. Visit us on the web at www.pmppals.org
 


 
 
Doctors and Nurses in Training

By Gabriella Graham

Most Appendix Cancer/Pseudomyxoma Peritonei patients select to have their surgeries at teaching hospitals associated with universities. Unlike smaller community hospitals, patients at university teaching hospitals are often attended to by medical students, interns, residents, fellows, and nursing students who will take a special interest in your case and in your care. Throughout your hospitalization, your care will be supervised by your specialist surgeon (even if you don’t see him or her daily.) After surgery, the majority of our fellow PMP Pals do not see their surgeon specialist more than once or twice a week; nevertheless, your specialist will be monitoring your case closely.

The physicians and nurses in training may ask you many questions and may examine you thoroughly during your recuperation. This level of care is seen as an advantage to many patients who would otherwise not receive such close attention at a community hospital.

Keep in mind that Pseudomyxoma Peritonei is very rare and that any aspects of treatment that student physicians and nurses learn from talking with and treating you, will help their knowledge base to grow and thus will help our fellow patients in the future.


Copyright © 2011 by PMP Pals’ Network/Gabriella Graham. All rights reserved.

Articles published by the PMP Pals’ Network and posted on www.pmppals.org are not intended as a substitute for professional medical or legal care. Individuals should seek the counsel of licensed healthcare professionals regarding their own specific needs. Visit us on the web at www.pmppals.org
 


 
 
The Importance of Walking After Surgery (CRS and HIPEC)

By Jim M, cancer free for five years!

After surgery, get up as soon as your healthcare team recommends and as often as they allow. Generally, your nurses will help you to stand up and walk a few steps the first day after surgery, including while you are still in ICU. You will feel unsteady on your feet, therefore, a nurse will assist you.

During the days following surgery set a goal to walk a little farther every day. Begin with two steps, four steps, out the door of your room, half way down the hospital corridor, and so forth. Gradually you will walk the length of the corridor once/twice/three times! Your IV pole will be your “walking partner!”

Getting out of bed and walking may make a difference in your recovery time. Eventually you will be strong enough to stroll down the corridor without a nursing assistant or family member to accompany you!

Click here for more information about Appendix Cancer Surgery



Copyright © 2011 by PMP Pals’ Network/Gabriella Graham. All rights reserved.
Articles published by the PMP Pals’ Network and posted on www.pmppals.org are not intended as a substitute for professional medical or legal care. Individuals should seek the counsel of licensed healthcare professionals regarding their own specific needs. Visit us on the web at www.pmppals.org


 
 
Many abdominal cancer patients discover varying degrees of digestive distress during the weeks and months following surgery.

Although appendix cancer, colorectal cancer and pseudomyxoma peritonei patients may experience similar CRS including the partial or total removal of particular segments of the digestive system, each patient is truly unique.

Nausea, diarrhea and bowel obstructions are the most common post operative digestive problem that patients (and their family caregivers/spouse) voice concerns about.

Indeed, these are serious symptoms as they can contribute to weight loss, malnutrition and painful blockages (obstructions.)

The PMP Pals' Network has posted numerous articles on the topic of obstructions and their prevention.

Likewise our NUTRITION link provides a variety of resources and menu plans with those patients who experience special needs, among them, low fiber, lactose intolerance and malabsorption diet plans.

We suggest that:

1. patients schedule a consultation with a licensed, clinical nutritionist to develop a personalized diet plan, after providing the nutritionist with a copy of the patient's operative report(s) in order for the nutritionist to be made aware of the specific segments of the digestive system that have been removed/altered and

2. patients maintain a daily "food diary" by noting any food or beverage they consume during a 24 hour period, and maintaining this diary for at least one week at a time.

"Diaries" may be simply maintain on a memo or note pad. By use of a food diary, the patient can note when digestive distress (ie nausea, diarrhea, obstructions, etc) occur, then can "track" back to what they have consumed (food or beverage) during the past hour, day or past few days.

For most patients, the food diary quickly becomes a helpful tool in determining which foods and beverages are tolerated well, and which may be problematic.

Patients should note that foods or beverages which are not well tolerated during the early stages of post operative recovery, may eventually become well tolerated.

Likewise, in the future, foods that are initially  well tolerated by some patients, including fibrous foods, may problematic in the future if scar tissue/adhesions occur.

As with any medical symptom, always discuss changes in your symptoms, which your licensed healthcare professional.


Articles posted in PMP Pals and on www.pmppals.org are written from the perspective of patients and their family caregivers and are not intended to substitute for licensed, professional legal or medical advice. Individual should seek counsel from licensed professionals regarding their specific needs. Copyright 2011 by Gabriella Graham/PMP Pals' Network/All rights reserved. Visit us on the web at www.pmppals.org
 
 
PREVENTING FALLS & BROKEN BONES:
Safety Tips for Patients & Family Caregivers

The preventing of falls is particularly important for patients recuperating from surgery and those experiencing malnutrition. Patients with osteoporosis are especially vulnerable to falls resulting in broken bones. Gastrointestinal cancer patients, suffering from malnutrition, are at risk for osteoporosis at any age.

Falls, leading to fractures, can be caused by:

environmental factors*,
impaired vision and/or balance,
chronic diseases that impair mental or physical functioning,
medications, including pain relief, sedatives and antidepressants.
alcohol (alcohol and certain medications do not mix well and may result in dizziness and loss of balance.)

*Tips to help eliminate environmental factors leading to falls include:


Outdoors

•During recuperation, or whenever needed, use a cane or walker to increase stability.
•Wear rubber-soled shoes to improve traction.

Indoors

•Keep rooms clutter-free, especially the floors.
•Mop up floor spills. Highly polished floors can become particularly slippery if wet.
•Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes.
•Avoid walking in socks, stockings, or slippers. Use footwear with "skid-proof treads."
•Carpets and area rugs should have skid-proof backing or be tacked to the floor.
•Stairs should have handrails on both sides. Stairwells should be well lit.
•Install grab bars on bathroom walls near tub, shower, and toilet.
•Use a rubber bath mat or appliques in shower or tub.
•Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries beside the bed.
•Carry a cordless or cell phone in your pocket.
•Don’t rush to answer the phone or open a door. Callers and visitors can wait!

For more information on this, and other home safety articles, visit www.pmppals.org and subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter.



Articles posted in PMP Pals and on www.pmppals.org are written from the perspective of patients and their family caregivers and are not intended to substitute for licensed, professional legal or medical advice. All patients are individuals with unique cases. Patients should seek the counsel of their own healthcare providers regarding their specific case and needs. © 2011 by Gabriella Graham/PMP Pals’ Network/All rights reserved. For more information, visit us at www.pmppals.org where “We have HOPE for YOU!”
 
 
What Patients Want Their Doctors to Know
(How to Improve the Outcomes of Medical Treatment through Improved Communication) Presented by Gabriella Graham, Patient Advocate
 
Recently the PMP Pals’ Network asked our fellow patients to answer the question, "What do you want from your surgeon?"

It goes without saying that patients want surgeons to provide the highest quality of state of the art care. Among the participants in the PMP Pals’ Network, those patients who seek treatment from experienced specialists, generally feel confident they are receiving the best care possible for the treatment of peritoneal surface malignancies.
 
Therefore, with specialized treatment being a "given", fellow patients responded to our question by focusing their attention on one major factor...communication!

Patients and their caregiving spouses, provided specific requests for improved communication skills, including those:
 
1. between physicians and patients and
 
2. among physicians and their colleagues in the medical profession.

Communication is of utmost importance, as it may affect the outcome of any medical procedure.
 
Patients seek:

1. improved "bedside manner" from their primary surgeons and residents

2. more detailed (“frank”)  information in preparation for the post-operative experience, including post op nutrition and changes in bodily functions

3. consistent communication between surgeons, their colleagues and hospital residents
 
4. inclusion in the decision making process, including when/how the patient will be released from the hospital

5. establishment of communication with patient's "hometown" PCP in developing appropriate post op follow up care  

By improving communication between patients and healthcare providers, we may be able to experience fewer post operative complications, reduce re-admittance to the hospital following initial discharge, and expedite the recuperation process.

First Impressions: What image does your office staff project?

Patients are influenced by how your staff communicates before they even meet you!

How easy or difficult is it for a patient to schedule a pre-op consultation with you? Are there long delays for scheduling appointments?

Does your receptionist/officer manager convey a friendly and welcoming attitude, or does she frighten patients away with personal speculations about what treatment may or may not involve?

Here’s a quote from one patient: “The receptionist was so abrupt when I inquired about a telephone consultation, I decided not to pursue the matter and called another surgeon’s office instead. I decided if the first surgeon’s staff was so rude, I would not want to experience more episodes like that if I eventually became his patient.”

What is the patient’s first impression of you?

Understandably, patients enter your office under stress, feeling very anxious. Many believe their future lies in your capable hands, literally.  Given your hectic schedule, how can you set the tone enabling the patient to relax and listen to your medical treatment proposal?

Small gestures can make a big impression.  Although cultural preferences vary, generally a warm handshake or a pat on the back may go a long way in putting patients at ease. Patients rate eye contact and listening to their concerns and questions, high on the list of communication skills they seek in a surgeon. 

Patients listen to physicians who listen to them!

Nomenclature: Treat the disease, treatments and the patients with respect

Set the tone by using language conveying respect for your profession and the patient’s diagnosis. Don’t use colloquialisms to describe symptoms, disease or treatment, or that elevate the patient’s anxiety even further.

Mucin is not “Jelly Belly.”
CRS is not “Mutha of all Surgeries.” (MOAS)
HIPEC is not “Shake and Bake.”

If surgeons want patients, the medical profession and research funding sources to take you and your work seriously, if you want to educate the public and share “awareness”, use appropriate and respectful medical terminology.

Addressing new patients

Patients request that they be addressed using formal titles, i.e. Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc. during initial meetings, especially when being interviewed by residents.

Evaluating a patient: How well do you know your surgical candidate?

Pre Op interviews

Naturally, as a surgeon, you will assess the patient’s overall ability to successfully recuperate from medical treatment. During your evaluation, you must also inquire about these two important factors that may affect the recuperation outcome:

1. the patient’s ability to afford medical treatment, and follow up care,
2. the patient’s personal support system for recuperation from medical treatment

Can the patient afford medical treatment?

Patients are often hesitant to tell you, but concerns over the affordability of treatment may rank only second to that in their level of anxiety about their prognosis.   While explanations of the financial aspects of treatment are delegated to other members of your staff, you may gain greater insight into the patient’s ability to pursue the treatment you prescribe, if you have more information about his/her financial concerns.

Does the patient have health insurance? Is the treatment you are recommending, including HIPEC, covered by that insurance? Have you advocated the establishment of HIPEC as the standard treatment of choice for the patient’s specific diagnosis?

If you recommend HIPEC as the treatment of choice, then you must be able to communicate in defense of, and support the efficacy of the treatment plan to all health insurance providers.

Can the patient afford post-operative monitoring, including commuting to your treatment center?

Is the patient employed? Can the patient afford to be away from work for at least two months? Does the patient have adequate “medical leave” coverage? Does the patient have a family to support?

Many patients scramble and accumulate more stress from attempting to accumulate/borrow/raise money for medical treatment and co-payments than the stress from their actual diagnosis! Some patients mortgage or sell their homes in order to afford medical treatment.

Financial worries and obstacles may affect at patient’s outcome from surgery/treatment.

Does the patient have adequate post op support at home?
Does the patient live alone? Does the patient have a community of support at home?

Does the patient have a responsible, capable and helpful family caregiver? Does the caregiver appear “involved” in serving as an advocate for the patient? Or is caregiver fearful, timid, disengaged, perhaps even angry with the patient for being ill?

Who are your colleagues?

If the patient is an appropriate candidate, and scheduled for medical treatment, advise the patient and the caregiver/spouse of the names of all of your colleagues who may be checking in on the patient, including during your days off.

If your colleagues have equal authority and can decide when your patient will be released, advise your patient of this fact, i.e. “Dr. Smith and I rotate weekends off. While I am away, (s)he has the authority to order pain medications/release you from the hospital, etc.”

Whenever possible, introduce your colleagues, including your residents, to your patients. Due to conflicting schedules, it may not be possible to make personal introductions, but at least provide the patient and the caregiver/spouse with the names of your associates, so they won’t feel bewildered when new faces appear at their bedside.

Post Op Expectations

Patients seek detailed communication from their surgeons in anticipation of the post-operative experience

Surgery is the primary treatment for most of your patients, yet, even those who have experienced general surgeries prior to CRS/HIPEC are not fully prepared for the challenges they will experience during the first several weeks, post op.

The most common concerns patients say they wish they had understood prior to surgery are:

1. Sudden and often dramatic weight loss, accompanied by temporary or permanent loss of appetite

2. Unanticipated changes in bowel elimination process, lactose intolerance, digestive disturbances

3. Length of time needed to regain stamina, ability to return to work (longer than anticipated)

Define “normal” and/or “full recovery”

Patients have discovered they define “full recovery” and the length of time needed before they feel “normal” again to differ from that perceived by their surgeons.

Here’s a quote from one patient: “Specific definitions are important during the pre-operative interview. My surgeon told me it would take three to four months before I would be ‘back to normal.’ I interpreted ‘normal’ to indicate that I would be able to work full time and resume all typical daily activities. As it turned out, the surgeon really intended ‘normal’ to be a ‘reasonably functioning level’ (still rather vague!) and that I could ‘possibly’ return to work.”

Another patient offers this reflection: “My biggest dissatisfaction with medical communications came after the surgery. I wish my surgeon had been more informative about the recovery process, including the physical after effects of the surgery. A more detailed explanation would have helped me to adjust to the experience better and would have enabled me to keep a positive attitude.”

There needs to be clear communication between surgeon and patient to define important, life altering, post op changes.

Improve Communication with Colleagues within the Hospital

Patients and caregiver/spouses note post-operative communication gaps among colleagues, including residents. The need to improve communications among medical colleagues and get everyone “on the same page” is the most common request from patients and their families.

Here’s a quote from one spouse: “A team of doctors working together not only needs to communicate well with one another but with the family, as well. You can be the most talented surgeon in the world, but if you lack good communication skills you will not be as effective.”

From another caregiving spouse: “Two specialists operated on my husband on the same day, yet they presented me with different post op scenarios for his prognosis. We wish they had consulted with one another at the end of the surgery to corroborate their summations.” 

Patients want to know, and want the staff to have, clear communication about “who is in charge” when the primary specialist is unavailable.

One patient offers this personal observation: “Instructions/authority for overnight, weekend and holiday pain management should be established before the primary surgeon leaves the hospital premises. There should always be someone on staff 24/7 with the authority to approve pain management, and other, requests.”

Communicate who is “in charge” before you leave the hospital for the day.

Transitioning from the Hospital to Home

It is common for patients to travel long distances to receive the specialized care provided at your cancer treatment center. Due to the complexity of specialized treatment, and additional specific support needed for some patients (i.e., those with ostomies and extensive weight loss, etc.) it is imperative that communication be established between a physician/P.A./case manager, and the patient’s local PCP prior to discharge from your hospital.

A printed outline of post op instructions is not sufficient instruction for a patient to carry home to establish adequate post- operative care and monitoring during recuperation.

Here’s how patients describe the transition between their discharge from their surgeons’ care at specialized cancer treatment centers, to their release home:

“When I was released from the hospital, I felt uncertain and insecure, and wished I had been given much more information about what to expect about recuperating at home.”

“My biggest disappointment with the medical treatment experience was the lack of communication or instructions after I was sent home.”

“I experienced a total communication disconnect between my specialist team at the hospital and my family healthcare provider back at home.”

Refer to licensed dieticians

As previously mentioned, weight loss and appetite suppression are of major concern to many post op patients and their caregiving spouses. The “standard” canned liquid beverage supplement that surgeons generally recommend to patients may not be helpful to lactose intolerant post op patients.

Therefore, communicating a referral to a licensed dietician, specializing in the care of patients with gastrointestinal/colorectal disorders, will be appreciated by patients seeking specific guidance.

When the news isn’t good…you are responsible for information about prognosis

Predictions of a patient’s prognosis should be delivered by you, not your receptionist/office manager, nurse or a resident. Patients have established a personal relationship with you and therefore look to you for direction regarding their prognosis. They do not want to hear speculations offered by anyone else.

What if the patient appears to be inoperable?

Some patients appear inoperable, perhaps even untreatable. If you are unable to treat a patient (and patients tend to respect and appreciate surgeons who are straightforward about this matter) then what options can you offer the patient?

All patients have options and they want to hear them from you, with compassion, not from your P.A., and not from a social worker. “Inoperable” patients have options, among them are:

Referral to another surgeon,
Possible chemotherapy or other treatment,
Palliative care, and
Hospice care.

All patients deserve to be able to make sound choices after they have examined their options. Patients realize that doctors can’t cure everyone. However, physicians can help “heal” the trauma of a poor prognosis by offering/educating the patient about humane options.

Offer options to all patients.

“Awareness” begins with you, the physician!
Communicate to Educate the Medical Profession at Large

Is there a better way to educate our local medical doctors (internists, surgeons, etc.) to refer patients directly to you, the specialist?

Too often patients undergo debulking by a local general surgeon, before ever learning about their options for specialized treatment and/or referral to a specialist. As recently as last week, our office received a call from a 40 year old mother of three in the United States, newly diagnosed with appendiceal cancer, following an appendectomy the previous week. Her pathology report clearly listed Pseudomyxoma Peritonei, yet she was scheduled for a “follow up, suctioning of mucin and exploratory surgery” with her local hometown general surgeon! (Fortunately, she located www.pmppals.org and was referred to sources our listings of surgeons and specialists.)

“Awareness” is a common buzz word within the cancer community. Due to the vagueness of many symptoms, combined with the rarity of the diagnoses you treat, awareness begins with you educating your fellow healthcare professionals from RNs and PAs to OB/GYNs, general surgeons and radiologists, in recognizing the often subtle signs of peritoneal surface malignancies.

Specialists are in the optimal position to communicate with, and educate, the general medical profession about the importance of:

1. recognizing symptoms, and

2. referring to specialists for appropriate and timely medical treatment.

Patients get the last word! Now it’s our turn to communicate!

Lastly, as patients and family caregivers, we want to communicate something to you!

We want to thank YOU for the time, devotion, sacrifices, that you, your staff, and your families have devoted to treating us and our loved ones!

We realize you could have chosen a less demanding field of medicine to pursue; we are thankful you chose to treat the rare diseases that are so devastating to us.

We observe that you are overworked and underpaid.

We are thankful that your spouse and your family are willing to sacrifice their time at home with you, so that you can dedicate that time to treating us.

We realize that the eighteen hour days spent focusing on our care means that days go by without you even seeing your own children during their waking hours, thus enabling us to live longer, so that we can raise our families.

We thank you for comforting us when nature works against us, and for celebrating with us when treatment exceeds our greatest expectations! Our victories over cancer are your victories too, as without your dedication, expertise and sacrifice, our victories would not be possible!

Articles published by the PMP Pals’ Network are written from the perspective of patients and their family caregivers and are not intended to substitute for licensed, professional legal or medical advice. Individuals should seek the counsel of licensed professionals regarding their specific healthcare needs. Copyright © 2011 by Gabriella Graham/PMP Pals’ Network/All rights reserved.  Contact us via pmppals@yahoo.com

PMP Pals’ Network: 1998-2011
Providing Resources, Referrals and Support for Patients and their Families in 48 Countries.Visit us on the web at www.pmppals.org


 
 
Infection Prevention Primer for Family Caregivers

Infection Prevention is one of the most important aspects, if not the most important aspect of caregiving/advocacy in hospital and nursing home environments.

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 2.4 millions of Americans acquire an infection in hospitals each year, contributing to 100,000 deaths annually. It is estimated that half of these infections could be prevented by proper hand washing and sterilization techniques.

Studies conducted at hospitals around the world have reached a troubling conclusion: some doctors and nurses don’t wash their hands thoroughly before entering patients’ rooms, or examining patients. Many healthcare providers use unsterilized equipment including stethoscopes, thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, etc.

Post operative patients are often unable to observe conditions and speak up for themselves during the hours and days following surgery. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the spouse/family caregiver/patient advocate, to observe and monitor the infection prevention methods used by hospital staff, tending to the patient.

Hand washing is one of the least expensive, yet most effective ways to break the chain of infection transmission.

Family caregivers/patient advocates should disinfect all hard surfaces that the patient is likely to touch including the… Healthcare staff, including physicians, nurses, lab technicians, physical therapists, housekeeping staff, etc, should not be allowed to touch the patient, or the patient’s medical equipment until:

1) antiseptic gel has been applied to the staff’s hands, FOLLOWED by
2) hand washing with soap and hot water, followed by
3) applying fresh gloves

Physicians, including those wearing sports jackets and dangling neckties, who have close contact with patients, should be discouraged from sitting on the patient’s bed, or touching the patient, unless the physician dons:

1) a disposable jacket or
2) a white, freshly laundered jacket.

Family caregivers/patient advocates should disinfect all hard surfaces that the patient is likely to touch INCLUDING the…

Telephone,
Control buttons on the bed,
“Call” button,
TV remote control,
Door handles,
Bed rails,
Light switch chain, etc,
These items can be cleansed with antiseptic wipes!


Be proactive in preventing the spread of infections, not only in the hospital setting, but throughout the home, after the patient is released from medical care.

Articles posted in PMP Pals and on www.pmppals.org are written from the perspective of patients and family caregivers and are not intended to substitute for professional legal or medical advice. Patients should seek the counsel of licensed professionals regarding their specific personal needs. Copyright © 2011 by the PMP Pals’ Network. All rights reserved.