For Patients: Tips & Advice
As part of our commitment to high quality care for you, we offer the following services.
Following a traumatic injury, families often have concerns about their insurance coverage. Your case manager can help. The case manager does the following:
- Coordinates financial resources that are available to you.
- Arranges medical equipment you may need.
- Works with the care team on the plan for you to leave the hospital.
- Obtains and verifies your insurance coverage.
- Contacts payers for authorization (like Medicare, Medicaid, or others).
- Provides ongoing reviews of your status with your case manager as you move closer to discharge.
Emotional & Behavioral Health
Your care team reviews your care daily. We consider every aspect, including your behavioral health. Our behavioral health professionals help you and your loved ones adjust to your injury. We help you understand reactions to trauma and how to cope with being in the hospital through your phases of recovery.
Returning to Life
Going back to normal life can be a worry for you and your loved ones. Our behavioral health team can help you with these issues. These issues often include:
- body image,
- re-entering school, managing stares and/or teasing, and
- other community referrals to activities, such as burn camp, archery clinic, climbing clinic, plays, and the like.
The burn center offers a support and education group on Wednesdays from 10:30 am to noon in the burn center support room. This group is open to inpatients, outpatients, and their support networks.
Children Patients & Visitors
We give our pediatric patients age-appropriate information about:
- help coping, and
- therapeutic play (an important part of development and coping).
A playroom is available for pediatric patients staying at the hospital with toys and activities for children of all ages. For safety reasons, there must be three people in the room when children are there, including a staff member.
Emotional preparation can help children visiting their loved ones for the first time. To do this, you can make arrangements 24 hours in advance by contacting a health care team member.
For Caregivers: Tips & Advice
A burn accident creates many changes and losses for you and your loved ones. Being in the hospital can be frightening. Patients often experience frustration and depression during recovery.
Our burn team considers every aspect of healing to treat the whole person. If you are a family member or friend of the patient, we encourage you to review these policies and procedures.
Openly communicate with your loved one and staff to help provide support.
Advanced Care Directives
As part of routine care, we ask you to fill out advanced directives. Advanced directives are detailed instructions on how to care for you or your loved one if they have a cardiac arrest or other life-threatening event.
This is routine practice for all patients and does not mean that something bad has happened or that we expect something bad to happen.
Our doctors will communicate openly and honestly about you or your loved one’s condition. If complications occur, we may ask you to make decisions about care.
It is important to keep in mind the patient’s wishes and how they would want to be cared for. If you don’t know the patient’s wishes or are unwilling to commit to decisions regarding their care, we will provide the care we believe best serves the patient.
You and your loved ones need emotional support even when things go well. If there is a complication or bad outcome, our entire team will support you and your loved ones as much as possible.
We encourage you to ask questions about uncomfortable issues. We will answer all questions open and honestly and explain if a complication has occurred.
We provide support throughout treatment no matter what happens.
Practical Tips for Caregivers
- The best time to ask for help is before you really need it. Don’t wait until you are exhausted.
- Develop a support system early.
- Involve others and make them comfortable with the situation, even if the help seems minor.
- Be aware of the effect of compliments and don’t let them disable you. (For example, it can be hard to live up to expectations when people call you a hero.)
- Build consensus with the burn team, your family members, and the patient in decisions where possible.
- Feel free to let others be responsible for finding answers.
- Know how to ask politely, but directly, for what you need.
Supporting Personal Health & Resilience
In order to provide care for your loved one, you need to keep yourself healthy. Take care of yourself by doing these things:
- Get plenty of restful sleep.
- Find a sense of meaning and purpose in the situation.
- Seek loving and supportive relationships.
- Look for positive interactions and social support.
- Eat healthy food.
- Find a connection to others experiencing a similar situation.
How Emotions Affect the Body
While you are going through this experience, you may have some physical symptoms. These symptoms are often expressions of the emotions you are feeling. They can include these:
- Nausea or frequent stomachaches
- Severe pain in your stomach or abdomen
- Little to no motivation, energy, or drive
- Restlessness or feeling irritable
- Severe depression
- Problems with sleep, such as insomnia, nightmares, waking up abruptly, and being unable to return to sleep
- Little to no appetite
- Little to no sexual desire
- Forgetfulness or memory loss
- Inability to concentrate
- Outbursts of anger and/or hostile behavior for no reason
- Uncontrollable crying
- Chronic pain, often in the joints, back, or head
- Pains in the chest area (that you may think are symptoms of a heart attack)
- Muscle weakness in various parts of the body
- Muscle soreness
- Hot or cold spells
- Numbing or tingling, especially in your hands, feet, and face
- Lump in your throat and occasional difficulty in swallowing
- Hyperventilating or shortness of breath
In addition to our regular support group, we can also recommend therapy services to help you deal with this trauma.
[Woolley, F. Ross and Woolley, Susan (2000) “Sudden Trauma! When Life Will Never Be The Same Again,”GoldMind Publications, Salt Lake City, UT (ISBN0-9678150-0-2)]