A friends recent experience with her adult special needs son’s hospitalization has made me realize just how important it is to have a family member serve as a patient advocate in the room 24/7. Hospitals are busy places and it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of meeting patients needs. Doctors are coming and going, technicians are running tests, lab workers must draw blood, nurses are administering medications and all of this busy work needs someone to co-ordinate and share information with staff and family members. If your special needs loved one has problems understanding or communicating…this can be a problem.
Things can change pretty quickly when there is a medical emergency or illness. It is important to receive the best care to have up to date information for both the staff and the family members. How often do medications get changed, or medical devices need to be removed or hooked back up during a hospital stay? Providing personal care that your loved one may not want from the medical staff can mean more co-operation from your special needs patient. Having a family advocate in the room can help ease discomfort if your patient is paired with a roommate who is NOT special needs. These are all issues many people have not thought about.
Keeping a small notebook by the bed to write down any changes that occur during a change in staff shifts can be critical to making sure that your loved one receives the best care by making sure that everyone is on the same page. You as the family member patient advocate knows your loved one the best. You know what is normal for that person. You know how they communicate, how they act, how well they understand questions and instructions…the hospital staff needs your input.
Because hospital stays can be lengthy…it is wise to have 2 or 3 people who are willing to rotate with you that you trust to stay in the room while your loved one is hospitalized. This means that extra eyes and ears are available when the doctors, nurses, aides or technicians come in to discuss care with your patient. Plan ahead and discuss these issues with other family members or trusted friends who have a good relationship with the patient and are willing to stand guard over them while they must be hospitalized…you won’t regret it.
There are things you can do to help out the staff and make your special needs loved one more comfortable. Just being there for moral support is important. Keeping a trusted loved one nearby can help to keep the patient calm and co-operative when change occurs. Take along hand-held video games, or stuffed animals or books or movies…anything that you know will help the hospital room to be as familiar and comfortable as possible. As I said, you know your patient best…you know what works for them…maybe it is a certain kind of music that they like or that brings them comfort.
Whatever you can do to reduce stress and stain will help your loved one to heal faster and get them back into their comfort zone as soon as possible. Do you have suggestions for what works for you?
Today I did an interview with Louise Sattler who is the creative owner/operator of http://www.signingfamilies.com. Louise is an expert trainer at workshops and classes that teach American Sign Language to help people communicate with one another. She is also a certified school psychologist who has an awareness of the importance of the need for families and community leaders to learn sign language. Sign Language opens doors and bridges gaps for people who are hearing impaired, or who may have developmental delays or special needs. Communication is something that many people take for granted.
Put yourself in the position of a person who is hearing impaired, or a person who lives with special needs; and, consider some environments they they may experience differently than you; such as a trip to the hospital or emergency room. How different would the experience be for you if you were the one who had difficulty making your needs known to the health care professionals. Or say you are an elderly person who is experiencing hearing loss…how are you going to communicate with other residents or say the staff? How about shopping or getting educational services at college or in elementary school? How about ordering a meal in a restaurant? Do you see how the quality of life can be improved for people impacted in this way? Can you see how sign language could open doors for people if others in the community took the opportunity to learn it from someone like Louise or through her DVD’s?
If you are interested in learning more about Louise and her educational services please listen to the interview here: http://www.rapidcashmarketing.com/lorrainesinterview/signingfamilies.htm
I’ve had the recent pleasure of “meeting” an extra-ordinary person with a calling on her life to teach communication skills through sign language to families. Louise Sattler is a very interesting person who has had a variety of experiences in different settings, including the educational field where she was a licensed school psychologist, which has enabled her to work with children and their families to develop strong and effective communication skills.
I met Louise through an online contest, believe it or not. It was run on Twitter. I happen to have won a poetry contest; and the prize, that I chose, was a DVD that made by Louise Sattler. Louise has a site called: http://www.signingfamilies.com/ . There you will find all kinds of information about Louise and what she does; but, I didn’t know all of that, when I won the DVD.
I chose that DVD because of the title and what I could potentially use it for. The title is, “Baby, Toddler, and Preschool Sign Language”. I work with children in several capacities and I liked the idea of learning some sign language just in case I needed to know it in the future. I was so excited when i got the DVD because, just watching it I could see the passion and the commitment that Louise had for teaching sign language to children and their families.
Bravery came over me and I approached Louise about doing an interview with me so that I could blog about what she does through her workshops, her speaking engagements and through her DVD’s. Louise agreed to do that and I thought that I would share the news of what she does because it helps so many people. By teaching sign language as a way of communicating it allows families to be more effective in advocating for their special needs loved ones.
http://www.signingfamilies.com/ caters to those who live and work with individuals with special education needs. Signing isn’t just for the deaf communities…people who struggle with many issues of disability can benefit from communicating through sign language. So if you work in education, in health- care, daycare, foster care, adoption, or you have a business or a family member who is impacted…this is a great way to brush up your communication skills so that you can strengthen your ability to communicate effectively in your relationships.
If you would like to contact Louise Sattler about her programs & her work she can be reached at Louise@SigningFamilies.com; or, you can contact her to do a workshop, give an interview or a presentation by calling her business line at: 410-715-9647 . Louise is also on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Louiseasl . She is very down to earth and she also teaches in Spanish-she is bi-lingual. Ask her about her programs….tell her that Writewhereyouare sent you and you will get a discount. You can purchase her DVD’s at her site: http://www.SigningFamilies.com/ or here on Amazon. com: http://bit.ly/913i5/.
You can always stop by and see me also at: http://www.writewhereyouareblog.com/ .