13 April 2008


Jari Holland Buck has turned personal tragedy into a positive for everyone. Her husband was taken to the hospital with acute pancreatitis. He wound up having crisis after crisis, including heart attacks and strokes, and was hospitalized for over seven months in four different hospitals. If Buck had not been at his side 24/7 and been his advocate, he probably wouldn’t have survived—but he did, though not in great shape.

Buck has written a book about their ordeal and it is wonderful! Hospital Stay Handbook: A Guide to Becoming a Patient Advocate for Your Loved Ones (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Worldwide, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7387-1224-6, US$17.95) is just that—a guide. It starts with forewords from the primary physician, the patient, and the wife. Then she makes 14 recommendations: take care of yourself, choose your hospital with awareness, pick the days of your stay carefully, take legal steps to ensure the patient’s wishes are honored, read and use the patient advocacy statement, assume your loved one can hear everything so speak in the positive, educate yourself, ask about every medication, understand every procedure used or denied, keeps track of all supplies and services, arrange for 24/7 coverage, pray, surrender, and (again) take care of yourself. Each recommendation comes with checklists and/or appropriate forms to fill out. There are a few essays at the end for more depth and a list of resources (mostly on the Web) and an index.

There are two other wonderful things about this book: it mentions the hospital library at least twice as a great source of information (even if she does think every hospital has a library) and the extremely reasonable price of US$17.95.

If you have anyone in the hospital or think you might, you should read (and/or buy) this book. It will help you and your loved one survive.

http://www.hospitalstayhandbook.com (a great site with additional resources)

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