I’d like your help!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30th, 2009 by Jim Hughes – 1 Comment
Help Wanted

Help Wanted

Today, I’m asking for some input on two questions.

1.  Is there anything that you haven’t seen in the Hospital Visits series that you’d like to see addressed?  You can review what’s been covered by clicking here to get the summary view for the category.  Note that there are two pages.  By the way, I now plan to turn the series into an e book which will be available here free.

2.  The next series I plan to write will be on family care giving. We’ll talk about caring for parents, spouses, other adult relatives, and even children and grandchildren.  What would you like to see included, what questions do you have, etc. that will help guide me?

Thanks for your feedback, and for the encouragement I’ve received from many.

Photo Credit:  K Nicholl

Hospital Visits: People Sleeping in Chairs, Chair-beds, and Cars

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29th, 2009 by Jim Hughes – Comments Off

Sleeping in Car

Sleeping in Car

It may not surprise you that a lot of hospital patients’ family members spend the night in the patient’s room.

Most of the time, this means sleeping on a chair-bed, a device that’s not usually very comfortable as either a chair or a bed.   Some hospitals are more thoughtful in design, and have a built in couch/bed that’s actually quite comfortable.  Still others provide no accommodation for family members.

Family members spend the night in patients’ rooms or in waiting rooms for several reasons. The most common are:

  • They feel the need and/or the patient feels the need for them to be there.  I still remember quite well trying to rig some arrangement of chairs in the NICU waiting room while my wife was there after surgery, and failing pretty miserably.  It was important to her and to me that I was close during that critical time.
  • If folks are from out of town, they may not be able to afford the cost of hotel accommodations.  I frequently visit with patients who’ve spent weeks in the hospital, and a spouse or parent or adult child has spent every night in their room.  While sometimes the cite the desire to be there, they often talk about the cost of a hotel.

What may surprise you, though, is how many people sleep in their cars because they don’t have the money for lodging.   I occasionally observe it  in the medical center garages, and know that people sleeping in their cars is fairly widespread.

Family members sacrificing comfort to be with family in the hospital is a fact of life, as is people sleeping in cars so their family member can be at a major medical center for treatment.

There are some organizations that work with the hospital social work departments to provide funding on a need basis for housing.  One I’m familiar with is Compassionate Touch.  You can even help if you wish.

The Power of Web 2.0: Engaging Community

Posted in Uncategorized on January 5th, 2009 by Jim Hughes – 1 Comment

During the last couple of days I’ve been touched by many things I’ve read on the web from people going through difficult seasons.

The first was from a 5 year-old boy who asked his mom, “Can we pray for me a new face?  This one doesn’t work very well.”  He can’t smile as a result of brain cancer surgery.  His name is Gage, if you want to join his family and those of us who know him through CarePages in praying for him.

Then there’s a graphic prayer request from Debby, via her sister, which was posted on Flickr.  Both are well known in the Houston Twitter community.  (Be sure and take a look at this request.)

And third, Larry James wrote a nice blog post about what he’s feeling facing life following the passing of both of his parents.

Social networking, a product of Web 2.0, is powerful for building and engaging community.  As these three examples show, it’s a very effective way to reach out and share what’s happening in your life and get support from a caring community.

Maybe some of you have stories of how the web community has been helpful in supporting you through a difficult season.  If so, please post about it in the comments.


Tomorrow, in response to several recent comments and suggestions,  I plan to start a new series here about making visits to seriously ill folks.

Holiday Blogging Break

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30th, 2008 by Jim Hughes – Comments Off

I’m taking a holiday break from blogging.  I took a couple of days off last week, and probably won’t post the rest of this week.

Hope you’re enjoying your holidays!

What Habits Are on Your List?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 5th, 2008 by Jim Hughes – Comments Off
Habits for Effectiveness

Habits for Effectiveness

An article in the New York Times entitled “Six Habits of Highly Effective Physicians” by Dr. Michael Kahn caught my attention this week thanks to a note from Paul Riddle at Lifeline Chaplaincy.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the title.

Maybe things like keeping current on the literature, attending conferences, seeking help from other physicians, tracking their cure rates, and other similar things lwould be in the list.

Turns out that Dr. Kahn’s list had things in it that were much more important.

• Ask permission to enter the room; wait for an answer.

• Introduce yourself; show your ID badge.

• Shake hands.

• Sit down. Smile if appropriate.

• Explain your role on the health care team.

• Ask how the patient feels about being in the hospital.

So those are the six habits of highly effective physicians.  Interesting, because it asks the physician to do something very basic — show respect for the patient as a fellow human being.  And doing that makes them highly effective as healers.

So what about you and what you do?  Is there a similar list that makes you highly effective?  Or does your list look more like the one I started — keeping up with the latest advancements, etc.?

Today might be a good time to make or review that list.