PULSE Watch List

When a loved one is in the hospital, first and foremost, never ever leave them alone there for extended periods of time.  With our complex system and understaffed facilities, it is imperative that a family or friend be close by at all times. 
The patient needs another set of eyes and ears to help the staff protect the patient from harm.  Many hospitals now welcome intervention, some do not.  

Ground Rules

Keep a notebook and document everything you observe with dates and times.

Always be polite, respectful and gracious when seeking attention from staff.

If you have a problem with a staff member, find someone else to communicate with about your issue.

If the staff member does not listen or seems to be resentful, go to that staff member's supervisor.

If the supervisor does not listen or seems unconcerned, then proceed to risk management and explain to that department that you are trying to prevent a negative outcome.   Most of the time they will listen and proceed to deal with the situation 

If risk management is not interested, move the patient as soon as possible to another facility.

Watch List for Patients and Families.

1.  Ask questions, know why the patient is in the hospital, explain to the nurses that you are there to advocate for the patient and that you want to be updated as to the condition of the patient daily.

2.  Always ask what medication is being given and what it is for, how many times a day, and how long will the patient be needing it. 

3.  If the patient is getting many medications, go to the pharmacy and talk to the pharmacist about the medications and ask what sort of reactions, interactions and side effects the medications have attached to them.   Ask the pharmacist if it is common for all of these medications to be given at the same time.  If you learn anything from the pharmacist that could put the patient in jeopardy, notify the nurse or doctor at once and request that the medications be rectified immediately.

4.  If the patient has surgery, inspect the site for redness, swelling and fever.   If you find anything unusual, notify the nurse at once.

5.  Always check the food tray and make sure that the patient is getting food that he or she can eat.  Many times diabetics will get food that they cannot have in error, if you find the food is not correct, notify the nurse to get the right tray to the patient. 

6.  Always have any staff member of physician who visits the patient identify themselves and ask them what they are doing with  the patient.

7.  Most of all, you know the patient better then anyone in the hospital, if the patient is not his or herself, and the patient clearly exhibits unusual behavior, notify the staff at once and request that the patient be evaluated.

8. If you are in a shared room and you notice anything out of the ordinary with the other patient, please notify the staff of your concerns.