Being in the hospital is overwhelming enough... throw in surgery and an arsenal of pharmaceuticals and it's easy to see how recovery can be confusing. That's why the folks at the Avera Heart Hospital had a computer program developed to lay-out on one page what medication the patient is taking, why and the possible side effects. They call it their medication education tool.
Avera Heart Hospital Registered Nurse Megan Kruse is going over Hal Rumpca's medications with him. Hal and his wife Marie came down from Pierre to find out what's going on with Hal's heart. He had bypass surgery 20 years and was fine until a couple of months ago when he started having severe palpitations. Cardiologists have already ruled out any blockage around his heart. Next he's having an angiogram done to see if there is plaque build-up in his carotid arteries in the neck.
Hal says, "They've changed a couple of my meds that's why I'm in the hospital otherwise I probably wouldn't be. They require you to stay for 3 days while they work on the new medication to make sure it is working and the dosage is right."
Patient Care Services Assistant Director Julie Meyer, RN says, "When they come in to the hospital they are always put on medications. The average person is on 9 different meds. And we always add almost 2 more. We want them to understand what the name is and what the side effects are. A lot of drugs have 2 names; a trade name and a generic name. It's confusing on when to take it and why you take it. Now we can print all that info out on one page and we update it and consult the patient and his family everyday they are here."
Hal says, "Everything they do here is top notch. They come in and they talk about the problem, the potential cause, the consequences for the different treatment. They give you a list of medicines and what they do, the potential for side effects. Makes you feel confident to get the information."
The goal is to take the complication out of what is usually a complex diagnosis and keep the instructions for recovery simple. As much as Hal appreciates that and the great care he's gotten here, he doesn't want to come back here.
Hal smiles, laughs and says, "No, you don't want to end up here again. The fish are biting and the golf course is open. I have things to do."
Since the Heart Hospital implemented this tool last summer, their patient satisfaction surveys have gone up 10 points on the medication education section which means discharged patients are comfortable and confident about their pill regiment when they get home.