With the resurgence of COVID-19 rates, the hospitals have served as ground zero for those who are in critical condition. Yet, they are in crisis mode with overcrowded ERs, overworked personnel and dwindling medical resources. Triage decisions have created dangerous situations for COVID and non-COVID patients alike as ER staff and specialists are overworked and out of space.
Yet, a hospital crisis of this magnitude isn’t impossible to stop. We have it within our power to make individual changes that can reduce the impact on hospital surges. The following suggestions outline the top actions we can take to improve hospital patient intake numbers today, tomorrow and even after the pandemic ends:
Stay Up-to-Date With Your Healthcare
Triage in the ER means that you might wait long hours without care because your symptoms weren’t deemed critical enough for immediate attention or easy enough to treat quickly. If you have one or more untreated or poorly managed chronic conditions, hospital staff might write your current symptoms off as tied to that condition rather than spending time and resources to explore a different diagnosis.
When you stay up-to-date with your healthcare by seeking regular exams and checkups and following the recommendations of all of your doctors, you lower the risk of an emergency caused by poor overall health. You can also advocate for yourself better when faced with a nurse or doctor who blindly insists that a well-managed chronic condition is the only possible explanation for symptoms.
Rethink Your Health Insurance Plan
Healthcare is a multi-billion dollar industry. This means that they have to pay attention to their bottom lines. That being said, hospitals can’t refuse you at the ER or discriminate openly against you if you have a health insurance plan that doesn’t pay at the same level as other plans. Yet, some hospitals provide only enough medical assistance to stabilize symptoms at the ER when you have a low-paying plan, even though they might have otherwise provided you with more extensive care if you had a high-paying one.
Use Alternative Acute Medical Care Facilities
The ER is designed to handle emergency cases that require extensive diagnostic testing and one or more specialists to evaluate symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms that would normally prompt you to see your primary care physician and you need help today because your PCP is unavailable, then visit a walk-in clinic or urgent care center. These types of locations are better equipped to provide services similar to those offered at a PCP’s office.
After an examination, a doctor or nurse might still refer you to a local ER, but at least you know that you did everything possible to prevent that outcome while attempting to receive immediate care.
Choose Well-Being Through Diet
Poor health is often the result of people consuming foods that don’t supply enough nutrients to their bodies. Additionally, many people don’t drink enough water every day to stay hydrated, especially on hot days. If you feel sudden weakness from poor nutrient and water consumption, you might visit an ER unnecessarily because you incorrectly believe that you’re having a serious emergency event.
A healthy diet also helps to boost the immune system against infection. Although it doesn’t provide guaranteed safety against SARS-CoV-2, it does make your immune system stronger against other types of infections and helps your body heal better and faster.
Stop Taking Unhealthy or Unnecessary Risks
Lastly, people have habits that put them at risk of accidents, injuries and illnesses that prompt ER visits. For example, a smoker is at high risk of complications from SARS-CoV-2 because of physical damage to their body from smoking.
Many people also take too many risks when driving short or long distances. Indeed, accidents have increased since the pandemic began. Rhino Lawyers in Tampa suggests that many accidents can be avoided by maintaining situational and positional awareness at all times, keeping your vehicle in optimal condition, reduce speeding, and not texting while driving.
As you can see, you can impact hospital surges through individual actions. If you have any influence over other people in your life, you can further help decrease surges by educating those in your social circles with this information.