The emergency room is often the first port of call once you have tried managing your sickle cell crisis unsuccessfully at home. The wait in the emergency room for a sickle cell crisis can be extensive, usually from 2 to sometimes up to 6 hours before you even see the doctor or receive pain medication. Unfortunately for most of us, the medical treatment in the emergency room can at times be emotionally damaging due to the harsh treatment that some of the jaded healthcare workers exhibit. Each of us has had experiences in which we were given less-than-compassionate care, in which we were treated like ‘malingerers, drug seekers or worse’. As a result, I know that I have personally come to fear requiring an emergency room visit, even though I’ve only been exclusively to emergency rooms that I work in the same hospital.
With my last hospital admission, I found an easier way to get through the admission process. So easy in fact, that I just had to share it with everyone. It’s called the Direct Admit.
The Direct Admit is initiated by your physician and usually can only be done during normal business hours. You call your medical doctor or hematologist and tell them you have to go into the hospital. You must ask for a Direct Admit. They will contact the hospital, put a bed on hold for you, and then call you back usually within 30-60 minutes with a room number and directions for your direct admit.
At my hospital, I walked to the receptionist desk, and told them I was a Direct Admit. The Admission lady came and put the wrist band on me, and I was directed to my hospital room. I walked to the room, signed in at the nurses station, and my nurse escorted me to my room. That was it…easy as checking into a hotel room. No waiting in the cold ER with sick people coughing all over you…you are taken straight to your room and get to settle in at your own pace.
The benefits of the direct admit system is that you skip the ER altogether. You usually see the on-call doctor, and your doctor has called in a consult to the on-call doctor. One of the issues I faced is that the floor nurses had a hard time starting my IV. I know that ER nurses have more experience, so this was a little bit challenging. Besides that, the whole process was really smooth and easy. It’s officially going to become my new mode of admission into the hospital setting.
The direct admit best works when you have been going to the same hospital for a few hospital stays so that your medical records are on file. It’s also good to work with a doctor that you trust, and that you know is going to have your back on the pain management front. Try to direct admit in the morning instead of in the evening (when most doctors are going home). Also avoid Change of Shift times like 7-8am, 2-4pm, and 7-8pm as you will not get fast service and may have to wait for hours for the nurse to come around and initiate your care.
Try the Direct Admit next time you have to visit the hospital. Let me know if it works for you as good as it did for me.
Sickle Cell Warrior