First, I thank you the outstanding nurses and nurse assistants who did their best to make their patients comfortable.
Next, I mention two issues, hoping no other patients would experience what my mom did. My mom passed away almost three months. I have waited that long to make sure my comments are not based on emotion, but on facts.
1) The hospital room setting. The room was originally designed for one patient. But it is assigned for two patients, A and B. Patient A, close to the door and bathroom, has the full control panel originally designed for this room. Patient B, close to the window, gets only a call button. When patient A hits the nurse key, a voice immediately responds and someone comes within minutes. My bed-ridden mom was patient B in room 2003 from April 1 to May 6. When she pressed the call button, she did not get answered and had to wait for half an hour or longer until someone came. When I was not at work, I stayed in the room to change her pads and diapers, cleaned her bed pan. Some days coming back from work, I found her laying on the wet pads raising up to her upper back. Her physical therapist also noticed such insane state and requested the staff to check my mom’s diapers frequently. If the hospital wants to pack two patients in a one-patient room, they should make sure that both patients are equally treated and get the same attention from the staff.
2) The inconsistent arrangement for deceased patients. My mom passed away on Sunday 7:05 am. When the nurse leader came to confirm her death, I asked if I could wash and dress my mom and how long we could stay in this room. She said that I should wait for the hospice agent, and normally the deceased could be in the room less than 4 hours. We called the mortuary to pick up our mom’s body by 11 am. The hospice agent came around 9 am and helped us with the paperwork. She left briefly and when coming back, she asked if we could arrange for the mortuary to come by 10:30 am. We honored her request and the mortuary immediately sent its personnel to the hospital. Due to the travel time they could arrive around 10:45. The hospice agent came back and asked if the pick-up could be around 10 am. She said the hospital policies allow the deceased in the room for 2 hours only. We were confused! If my mom’s body had to be removed in 2 hours, the nurse leader should have warned us at 7 am and let us wash and dress my mom earlier. The hospice agent miserably apologized for the inconvenience, adding that the nurse leader wanted us to leave ASAP, because this room had been assigned to other patients. It was 15 minutes to 10 am then. I asked the hospice agent to help me wash and dress my mom so we could leave by 10 am. Aware of the intense discussion, she came back with another nurse to mediate the situation. This nurse said that some nurse leaders are stricter than the others. But she already bought time for us to remain in the room until the mortuary personnel came. The mortuary personnel arrived around 10:35. In honoring my mom’s last wishes, we brought some cakes to the hospital staff around 12:30. To our surprise, room 2003 was still unoccupied. Didn’t the hospice agent say this room had been assigned to other patients? And fatefully, we delivered the cakes to the nurse leader who checked my mom early morning. Might it be this nurse leader the cause of all confusion about my mom’s body pick up time!?