Welcome to Day 7 of the 31 Days of Random Reflections on Raising and Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs. You can find the main page for this series here.
At the moment, we’re experiencing a healthcare crisis in our province. It’s fair to say that if you happen to be hospitalized, it truly sucks lemons.
Over the years, I’ve dreamed of ways hospitals can change to make things less mechanical and more humane. Since hospitals serve human beings who are so much more than just a body, I know my vision will help make the healing process a more effective one.
The Hospital of My Dreams Would Have:
- No waiting time. The solution is simple: invest tax payers’ money in healthcare. Period. (I think education also needs investment, but that’s a whole other post.)
- Better lighting. Not fluorescent lighting. Preferably with the option to dim to our liking.
- Lights off at night. Especially in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) so babies and children can decipher day from night as the brain is learning to regulate sleep patterns.
- Peace and quiet. Like at a spa.
- A “no loud beeping” policy. Especially in the intensive care units.
- Sensitive, loving staff. I’m talking about a staff that listens to our concerns and doctors who are sensitive to patient confidentiality. In other words, medical matters should not be discussed within ear-reach of other patients and their visitors.
- A “no negative patient-talk” policy. Even if the patient appears to be sleeping, only words of encouragement should be spoken to and about the patient while in the room. This is especially important if the patient is a child with special needs and appears to not understand.
- Complementary medicine. It’s time to wipe out the idea that conventional doctors work in isolation from alternative doctors. It’s time to unite. It’s time both parties understand their importance in healing. It’s time to combine resources so that the patient gets the best possible care the first time, every time. The hospital of my dreams would do this seamlessly.
- Healthy meals. Only healthy, nourishing food should be served in hospitals. I will leave it at that.
- Cleanliness and maintenance. I don’t only mean the obvious, but things like chipped paint, cracked tiles, and scuff marks on the walls should be maintained regularly. I don’t care how old a hospital is, it should always be impeccable-looking.
- Updated decor. Speaking of aesthetics, the room should have the comforts of home with appealing furniture and uplifting color on the walls. My dream hospital would be easy to keep clean, but oh-so-familiar.
- Scary machinery out of sight. I don’t want to see tubes and syringes and whatever that creepy dangling thing is out there in the hallway. I understand that these things save lives, but they don’t have to be out in the open to welcome patients and visitors. The hospital I envision has a place for everything, and everything in its place. No cluttered storage outside the patient’s room — especially when the patient is a child and impressionable.
- Only private rooms. It’s simple. We need space — both physically and emotionally — to heal. It’s hard to concentrate on getting well when the patient beside us is dealing with his own issues.
- Private showers in each room. No communal showers, please. Children and parents need privacy and time.
- Access to the internet. It is 2015. If we need to be quarantined, I’d like to have some kind of access to the outside world. Sometimes, the internet is our only lifeline.
- Spiritual support. It would be great to have a spiritual guide to talk with as often as we need. Nothing is more comforting than knowing we’re not alone in a scary time.
- A massage therapist. Even if we can’t handle a full-body massage, we might like to have our head massaged. Or, our hands. Or, feet. Or, just our shoulders.
- A zen en-suite for patients and parents. It would include music, art, aromatherapy, a mini-waterfall, and a healing garden.
If hospitals are places of healing, they need to reflect that healing in every aspect. A good doctor is not enough. The whole system needs to change to be one of nurturing, uplifting restoration. I can bet that if it does, the rate, quality, and quantity of patient recovery would greatly increase.
If you’re reading this and you’re a hospital director, I’d be happy to sit on a redesign committee with you. Call me.
Note: I drafted this post before the Montreal Children’s Hospital opened its doors as part of the “Super Hospital” in May of 2015. At the time of this publishing, we have yet to visit the new hospital ourselves. From what I have heard, many of these items on the list have been taken into consideration and are actually set in place. I’m impressed.
This likely means that the rest of the world has hospitals with better quality services than what we experienced in the past (which directly inspired this post). I would love to hear what hospitals are like where you live. Do they reflect better healthcare overall? You can leave a note on Facebook or Twitter.