Quit Playing the Blame Game
But there's so much more we can do, Krumholz says. First, physicians and other members of a patient's whole caregiver team, inpatient and outpatient, need to stop blaming the patient for going home and forgetting what they were told to do. It might not be their fault.
"In my experience, as a patient, I don't think of this as an inpatient episode of care and an outpatient episode. I am suffering from an illness and I am going home. But I haven't finished one thing and started another; I'm dealing with the same thing.
"And I wonder why my doctors can't talk with each other. Why are people talking with me like they're educating me in the hospital instead of realizing that I'm cognitively impaired? I can't hear a word you're saying. I see your mouth moving but I don't understand a word you're saying."
"It's up to us to deal with this rather than just complain that the patients never listen."
What Pandharipande and Krumholz are opening us to is a whole new field of research and measurement. It will require a serious evaluation of remedies to see the extent to which the "hospitalization toxic" is affecting their patients, and how much of that can be prevented.
Then maybe we can all get a good night's sleep.