Outpatient Care: The 5 Treatments
You Should Not Have in a Hospital.
Apparently, the worst month to go to a hospital is July. Why? Because that’s one month after med students graduate and first-year residents begin flooding hospitals with mistakes and apprehensions.
In fact, a recent study published by the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported a 10% spike in teaching hospital deaths during the month of July. The phenomenon even has a name: The July Effect.
Actually, the rest of the months are pretty bleak for hospital inpatients, too. Hospital-borne infections are everywhere and they continue to become more and more antibiotic-resistant. Plus, higher patient-to-nurse ratios mean less one-on-one care, which means less checks and balances and more patients suffering the consequences.
You pretty much want to leap at the chance to get your healthcare in an outpatient setting. Frankly, unless you’re having a heart attack or some extreme physical trauma, the last place you ever want to be is a hospital. If the infections and inconsistent care don’t get you, the infinite menagerie of hospital bureaucracies probably will.
The good news is many hospital services and technologies are now available in outpatient settings. You just have to look for them.
Here are five treatments you should avoid having in a hospital and why:
1. IV Antibiotics. Getting your IV antibiotics administered at the hospital is like attending an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting at a bakery. Why tempt fate? A healthier alternative is to get your IV medications in an outpatient setting where you’ll be more comfortable, you’ll be better able to carry on with your life and you’ll have less exposure to antibiotic-resistant germs. Most times, you just have to ask your doctor.
2. Wound Care. Wound care patients make hospital accountants giddy. It’s not only the $4 aspirins that excite them. It’s also the Contact casts are important for wound healing and they are quick, easy & painless to remove possibilities of surgical debridement needing a surgical suite that features expensive anesthesia with a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chaser. Then, if the patient is diabetic, the tab goes through the roof. Of course, you’ll need to see the hospital’s diabetic dietician, endocrinologist and vascular specialist, right? Imagine getting all those services in one outpatient facility from one physician with three board certifications. Check out Encompass HealthCare (www.encompasshealthcare.com). Great continuity of care is out there. You just have to look.
3. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. In many locations, you don’t have much of a choice between hospital on-site and outpatient off-site. Big hospitals are typically better able to handle the high costs of purchasing and maintaining hyperbaric oxygen chambers. But that is changing and if you look, you will find that outpatient centers with hyperbaric chambers have better flexibility, shorter wait times and nice accommodations.
4. Application of Skin Substitutes. They do not need to be applied in a $3,000 an hour hospital surgical suite by a board-certified vascular surgeon and three nurses, one of whom is a nurse anesthetist. They can they be applied at an outpatient wound center under the same sterile conditions found in a hospital.
5. Skin Grafts & Flaps. Depending on how extensive the procedure is, patients can get many skin grafts and surgical flaps in an outpatient setting. It’s similar to hundreds of plastic surgery patients getting work done in offices and outpatient surgery centers across the country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year, over 1.7 million patients get an infection as a result of being treated in hospitals. That’s one in every 20 hospital patients acquiring an infection during their hospital stay. So it’s a good idea to ask one critical and potentially life-saving question before you go to a hospital: Can I get this treatment at an outpatient clinic? For most conditions, the answer is yes.
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