Change is constant – as healthcare/hospitals change, our technology evolves as well. The experiences I had when dealing with hospitals in 2013 are vastly different in 2017. I like to document how my iPhone or an app solved an issue or was helpful in some way.
My husband recently had surgery – a partial knee replacement at 56 years old, and my phone came in handy in a variety of ways.
- After surgery, the doctor always comes out to give you a report on how it went. I have the app Just Press Record, which also has an Apple Watch app. I tried to use it discreetly on my watch when the surgeon came out, but of course I fumbled it and it didn’t work. An alternative is the iPhone’s included Voice Memo app.
- The hospital asked for his Advanced Medical Directive–he, of course, said he didn’t have one. I knew he did and downloaded the PDF from my Cloud account (we prepared them in 2014 before a trip to Italy).
- He had a variety of prescriptions to take at different times. I didn’t see a way to use the iPhone’s Reminder app since it was a continuous every 4 hour for one and 8 hours for another. I downloaded the free app Pill Reminder, entered each RX, the interval, and set an alert. This app is also for the Apple Watch.
- Each hospital room has a white-board where they list everything for your stay, and the current day’s info (your RN, NCP, TL for the day, current medications, special requests, etc.). At the top it has the room number and the phone. Since his sister lives out of state, I took a picture of the board and texted it to her so she knew what was going on and a phone number where she could reach him. This picture came in handy when the Registered Nurse came to check on him at home on Saturday, and it had his pain medication dosage noted. (Sample blank form pictured from another hospital.)
- He is receiving physical therapy at home three times a week, but we need to do the routine twice a day. While they give you a handout, it can be difficult to follow if they changed it (like using the kitchen counter vs. a chair in the picture). I wanted to film bits of each exercise as she went through them so I would remember. The iPhone’s video function doesn’t have the ability to pause. I tried to use Instagram since you could easily pause and continue, but it limited the amount of time. I bought the MoviePro app ($5.99), and it worked perfectly. Now when we do his routine, I can scroll through the video and review how he’s doing the move and replay her instructions if needed.
- The iPhone’s camera is a great tool to track the recovery progress–the pictures are dated and timestamped. Three days after surgery, we removed the Ace bandage and cotton, and then texted a picture of how the knee looked to the physical therapist so she could check the swelling and the condition of the bandage. We’ve continued to take pictures to document the changes.
- Group texts – great way to keep the family updated on the surgery itself and progress.
Dealing with the health care system is never easy, but you have a lot of tools at your disposal to assist you. Right now, we just wait for the healing to progress.