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In the March, 2016 issue of FastCompany.com I read the following:

“How do you produce better results for people undergoing major surgery in chaotic, overtaxed hospitals?  According to the not-for-profit Noora Health, you do it by teaching family members to assist in their relatives’ care.” (full article)

Noora began as a graduate project in the Stranford d.Schools’s Design for Extreme Affordability class and now it works with twenty-six hospitals.  Sadly, although the description of the hospital environment could be anywhere in the United States, Noora Health works in India.

Many years ago my mother had a surgery while we were living in India.  There were no fancy machines, no hospital beds like we now know them and no cafeteria for visitors.  In fact, there was not even a kitchen to feed the patients.  Families brought family meals when they came to visit their loved ones and often stayed overnight with them.

Now some of these same visitors are being trained in basic skills such as wound hygiene and ten to fifteen of the highest-impact skills where lay people can have positive results.  The thought is that family members would spot the warning signs of complications better than most other people, particularly harried and stressed hospital workers.

So, why in India and not here in the States?  Could family training not improve outcomes here as well as there?

I know from personal experience the impact a family member can have from the time when one of my children needed a complex surgery.  The morning after surgery a meal was delivered to my child none of which he was allowed to eat and he had not eaten in over forty-eight hours by then.  Thank goodness I was there to hustle up help down the hall.  I was not invited to advocate for my loved one, but I guarantee that without my “interference” my child would have lain in bed for several hours beeping for help without much result.

Is the American response to surgeries in chaotic and overtaxed hospitals just to discharge patients as soon as possible?  Quad bypass surgery with a two day stay is not uncommon, but are family members being trained in basic post-surgical skills? Perhaps continued timely discharge paired with family home care training could help reduce healthcare costs and improve surgical outcomes.  Adding in family assistance during a hospital stay could also improve care as well as results.

Why are we not being invited into the hospital to watch over our loved ones like families in India?  Why not here? We’d love to hear your insights on this subject. Leave a comment or get in touch with us at CDA Inc.