Sometimes you have to speak up

My brother got a call yesterday from my rehab place, inviting him to a care plan meeting next week for me. Problem is that I’m my own power of attorney and no one had invited ME to the meeting. In fact, no one had told me much of anything about how this practical end of things actually worked here. I’d never met the social worker or had anyone explain about care plan meetings or even care plans. None of the others on my hall had those, either. Even simple things like how laundry gets done were never explained. This is not okay, and I was not happy. Not about the laundry but about meetings to plan MY care with my emergency contact invited but not me. So I spoke up.

I spent large parts of my working life dealing with high level problems involving staff, budgets, systems, and/or materials, and many hours of that time were spent talking with people who left things unsaid or undone. The key is to keep calm, be clear, not get personal, and have your facts in order. If I could deal with Thompson West, I could deal with Meadow Lake.

I found the Director of Nursing to ask what was going on, who was this person and how could I meet her, and what was the care plan meeting about. And was there an expectation that I would be terminated as a patient here when my 30 day initial stay was completed. I also cornered, er, discussed this with my physical therapist. I was still not happy.

Then someone called an MDS Coordinator came to my room to see me. Apparently she is important and the one who oversees these things, as well as the social worker. I’m all for turning difficult situations into teachable moments, and this situation provided one to explain the obvious point that you check with the patient before you call the family. I had a chance to explain what my concerns were, and I got an apology right out of the gate.

I’m comfortable now with a care plan meeting next week that will result in some extended time beyond the initial 30 days; the company that owns Meadow Lake requires that each admitted patient have an estimated discharge date, which can and is adjusted depending on progress. Although I was admitted with a 30 day estimate, that will change with reports from therapy about their goals and plan for my progress. I probably will not need to stay until November 1st, but I’m also not going to be ready to go on October 1st. Somewhere in the middle.

My brother doesn’t have to come up for that 20 minute meeting. That’s just silly and a poor use of his time, since I can and will speak up on my own behalf.