Hi, it’s Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com with another quick tip for families in intensive care.
So today, I want to talk about staffing levels in ICU. So, we are currently working with a client who has their loved one in ICU, ventilated with the tracheostomy, and is very, very sick. He has kidney failure and now needs to go on dialysis or CRRT (Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy) to get the kidneys going.
Now, it turns out that this particular ICU only had three nursing staff for six ventilated patients. Now, that is dangerous. Most ICU have a one-to-one nurse to patient ratio. And then in this ICU, they couldn’t get the dialysis going because of lack of experienced staff. So, it’s going to be very challenging to look after six ventilated patients with three nursing staff, one of them apparently being very junior. And then you’ve got to get the dialysis going. It’s almost near impossible.
So, you got to ask the right questions and it comes back to what I keep saying over and over again that the biggest challenge for families in intensive care is simply that they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know what to look for. They don’t know what questions to ask. They don’t know their rights, and they don’t know how to manage doctors and nurses in intensive care.
So, what’s the solution here? The solution is always to ask the right questions. You should be getting very wary if you have three nurses in ICU for six patients. That’s certainly not appropriate, certainly not safe. And if we hadn’t pulled up the client on it, he would’ve not even known that probably they can’t start dialysis because they don’t have staffing levels.
So, it all comes down to asking the right questions, and it’s also a case of the nurses that are working there, they could lose their registration. They could lose their license, if something happens. They should speak up, speak to hospital management and say, “We don’t feel safe that looking after six ventilated patients in ICU with three nursing staff is simply not safe.” Very important to maintain standards in ICU. And one has to ask, why is there not enough staff? Is it simply not enough nurses? Is there a cultural problem? Does nobody want to work there? Those questions need to be asked. And you as a family, you should be asking yourself those questions. Why is there no staff? Does nobody want to work there? If nobody wants to work there for whatever reason, how does that potentially impact on your loved one’s care and treatment there?
So, very important questions to ask.
That is my quick tip for today.
If you have a loved one in intensive care, go to intensivecarehotline.com. Call us on one of the numbers on the top of our website or simply send us an email to [email protected] with your questions.
Also, have a look at our membership for families in intensive care at intensivecaresupport.org. There, you have access to me and my team, 24 hours a day, and we answer all questions, intensive care related, in a membership forum and via email.
If you need a medical record review, please contact us as well. We review medical records for patients in ICU, either in real time or we can review them after intensive care. But it’s so much better if we can review them in real time, so we can interpret clinical data in real time. And in this day and age, hospitals should just give you access to the medical records in real time via website with a username and a password. Never forget that. And please also keep in mind, having access to medical records is a right, not a privilege. So, you as the power of attorney, have every right to access medical records. And you should be wondering, and you should be very suspicious if ICUs don’t want to give you access to medical records, what do they have to hide? But you have a right. If you have trouble accessing medical records with hospitals, please contact us. We can help you.
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Thanks for watching.
This is Patrik Hutzel from intensivecarehotline.com and I’ll talk to you in a few days.