When it comes to healthcare, you have to make bold, wise decisions. Whether you’re looking for a hospital for yourself or your loved one, you should go for that which best serves your needs. When you’re admitted as an inpatient, the hospital becomes your home until you recuperate. For this reason, you must choose a good healthcare facility, at least one that’ll meet your expectations and deliver good quality services as per your needs.
This article discusses eight factors that’ll guide you to choosing a hospital for inpatient care. These include:
1. Quality Of Healthcare
In essence, a patient’s health and wellbeing top a hospital’s priority list. The hospital staff should, therefore, administer the best possible care. However, the quality of service differs in various hospitals. Some offer better services than others due to factors including, but not limited to:
- Doctors’ qualifications: These may include their certification, specialty on certain medical conditions, number of successful procedures they’ve performed, among other considerations.
- Technological advancement on equipment: This chiefly includes the availability of state-of-the-art equipment and other instrumentation designed to perform specific procedures such as cell sorters, Computerized Tomography (CT) scanners, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines, and more.
- General hospital accreditation: This is concerned with the hospital’s recognition by government health bodies in its ability to meet the required health standards.
You should choose a hospital that ranks well on all the above factors. Additionally, you’d want to confirm that the inpatient facility you have Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It is because a patient’s condition may deteriorate at any time, necessitating them under life support. And the closer the facility is to your home, the better. Thus, if you live in a city like Idaho Falls, you’d want to narrow your search to an ICU. It allows the patient’s family and friends to visit as often as possible.
2. Insurance Coverage
Healthcare is expensive, especially if you’re receiving inpatient services. The bills keep on accumulating by the minute. For this reason, you’d want to make it easier for yourself and your loved ones by researching the insurance policies of the hospital and whether your hospital bill will be catered for by your health insurance plan. Make inquiries from your health insurance provider about the list of hospitals it covers, then makes a selection from one of them.
3. Visiting Rules
A hospital stay can be lonely and even depressing, especially if you don’t receive any visitors from friends or family.
Some hospitals have strict schedules around patient visitation. While this is a practical solution for issues like overcrowding and visiting at odd hours, it may not always be favorable for all conditions. For this reason, you may go for a hospital with more lenient policies, such as the hospital allowing your loved one to spend the night with you in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and allowing for a group of people to visit you.
The hospital can also have a flexible visiting program so that someone may come to see you at any time. It is because your visitors’ schedules may not always be in line with the hospital visiting hours. Other hospitals also monitor the gifts you may bring your patients. For instance, some hospitals with psych or inmate wards may prevent you from visiting your loved ones with any object that can be weaponized, such as pens and other sharp objects.
Despite this, your visitors should abide by the hospital regulations as the set rules have a reasonable baseline. For instance, there may be a case of contagion in a hospital so, the management may limit or entirely restrict visitation until the situation gets contained. Therefore, for the safety of your visitors, it’ll be best for them to stick to whatever visiting rules the hospital sets.
4. Hospital Standards
As a hospital is concerned with the health and general welfare of the patients and staff, you must consider the following additional factors before settling on one:
- Security: Although unlikely to happen, a hospital may fall victim to incidences of robberies, terror attacks, hostage situations, and more acts of crime. You should ensure that the hospital you check into has minimal to zero histories of such incidences. It should also have ample security to tackle such incidents should they happen.
- Safety: Ensure that the hospital’s structural form is firm and its integrity isn’t compromised. You may take a tour around the hospital or ask for references from people familiar with the hospital about the safety measures it puts in places such as evacuation plans and equipment to use in case of natural disasters such as fires, tsunamis, earthquakes, or more to happen.
- Utilities: Among many other essential services, a hospital should have flowing water and electricity connections at all times. It is because most processes are dependent upon these two main utilities. In case of any blackouts, a good hospital should have a working standby generator to cater to the power needs.
- Hygiene: A good hospital should have good janitorial staff who’ll maintain proper cleanliness and hygiene standards at all times. They should ensure that proper standards are met to protect patients from possible infections brought about by unsanitary conditions.
To know about these conditions, you may research the hospital’s history, ask reliable sources familiar with the hospital environment, or do a tour around the hospital to observe if their standards are high. And if they meet your expectations, you may choose that hospital for your needs.
5. Patient Experience
Hospital staff, including doctors, nurses, or even cafeteria staff, should ideally be empathetic. You wouldn’t want to end up in a hospital with rude and neglectful staff. When admitted to a health facility, you should expect kindness and attention from your physicians.
For this reason, you may request details of patient surveys to learn what the patients have to say about the experience they received while at the hospital. Choose the hospital with high reviews and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores. These indicate the gentleness and professionality of the staff, which will thereby make your stay in the institution easier.
The closer a hospital is to your home, the more feasible your situation will be. For starters, you’ll easily and quickly get to the hospital and begin with your treatment process. Because of the proximity, it’ll also be easier for your friends and family to check up on you.
In contrast, this isn’t the case for distant hospitals, as it may take your family weeks of planning before visiting you. And at this, maybe just a few family members will visit you once. Therefore, the proximity will make you feel more at home as your loved ones will be with you most of the time.
Additionally, you’ll be familiar with the environment, and this will go a long way into reducing the loneliness that you may experience had you been admitted into a hospital far from your home. Also, there’s a likelihood that you may encounter some familiar faces from your stay there as most of the hospital regulars could be your neighbors, thus reducing the loneliness.
7. Local Amenities
The presence of amenities around the hospital is another essential factor to consider. There should be services and facilities such as cafes, hotels, ATM machines, banks, or other money sources, lodges and motels, transport infrastructure, among others.
When your visitors come to see you, it won’t be difficult for them to get food, a place to spend the night, or the money they require. Additionally, you may also need these services during your hospital stay, or upon discharge. On this account, you should select a hospital whose location will enable you to easily access these external services.
8. Moving equipment
You’d want to choose a hospital that’ll make your stay there as convenient as possible. So, opt for one with infrastructures such as elevators, ramps, and gently sloping staircases that’ll make it easier for you to move around. Additional equipment may include wheelchairs and walking aids, all of which will be useful to aid you in your recovery process.
Before you choose a hospital, make sure to do thorough research to ascertain the capability of the hospital to deliver the healthcare that you seek. Several factors will affect your selection of the hospital to receive treatment. These include the quality of healthcare the hospital offers, your insurance coverage, the visiting policies, the hospital standards, the experience patients had when treated in the hospital, the hospital’s proximity to your home, the local amenities around the hospital, and the moving equipment.
Also, given the digital nature of this age, you’re most likely to find patient reviews on any hospital online. Make a point of thoughtfully going through them to get a feeling of the experience other previous patients had with the hospital. A hospital with a good online reputation will most likely be good for you.
With all these factors considered, you’ll be able to make a decision in choosing a hospital that’ll serve your needs best. When you get admitted into the hospital, you’ll likely enjoy the experience as it’ll be the hospital of your choice.