wow, pic is already 1 yr old!!
Member since 1/06
6689 total posts
I thought this article was great re: questions to ask on a hospital visit...(if they aren't answered!)
It came in my Huggies email (yes, I signed up for coupons and now they keep sending me these..but I like learning!!)
Thought I would pass it along....
Questions to Ask on Your Hospital Tour
If you have a choice of hospitals, you may have already taken tours to decide which one to deliver in. Still, all parents should also take a tour in the late part of pregnancy to get a beat on practical details like where to park, how to be admitted and what you'll need to bring. A tour is also a chance to mentally prepare yourself so when the big day arrives you'll feel more at home and confident.
Hospital birthing centers typically offer group tours once or twice a week, and you can set up your appointment for a tour by calling the hospital's main number and asking to be connected with the right department.
If you're planning a hospital birth, it's important to understand the principal of "informed consent." The right to have informed consent is not only the law, but also it is a deeply ingrained part of ethical medical practice.
Under informed consent, all patients have the right to be thoroughly informed about any procedures suggested for them or their babies, and also the right to refuse interventions or procedures at any time.
Doctors, midwives and nurses have the obligation to tell you honestly both the benefits and the potential risks involved in any procedure or test. And, even though you may sign a standard consent form when you're admitted to the hospital, you can always change your mind during the progress of your labor and birth; however, if your health care provider believes that by refusing a procedure you are risking your life or the life of your baby, he (or she) may take legal action to proceed anyway.
You also have the right to request a second opinion about a treatment or intervention that is being proposed for you or your baby by your physician, midwife, or whomever is caring for you at the moment.
One problem, though, is that emergencies sometimes arise during labor and delivery that require immediate action.
If that's the case, it may be wiser to comply with the intervention, rather than to postpone and regret it later. If there is sufficient time, you can request the advice of the hospital's head of obstetrics or its medical director. You may want to request the opinion of a specialist in pediatrics or maternal-fetal medicine should you be presented a decision that could affect your baby's safety or survival.
All that said, it is important to keep in mind that labor and birth are not illnesses to be treated, but natural, healthy events, and the vast majority of labors and births proceed without a hitch.
Sample Questions to Ask
Here are some detailed questions that can help you think ahead about what to ask when you take your hospital tour. Or, you may prefer to go along with the tour and save your questions for your next appointment with your health care provider. Some questions cover special, high-risk situations in case you want to prepare ahead for rarer, unexpected events.
Parking. Where should we park when I come to be admitted? Will we have to pay parking fees? If so, how much does parking cost? Or, where do we get our parking tickets stamped for free parking?
Getting admitted. Where do we go to be admitted? Is the admitting area open all the time, or does it close at a certain time each night? If so, where should birthing center patients go? Can I complete pre-admission forms before I leave today or take them home to fill out in advance, so I won't have to complete them when I'm in labor?
Food. Where is the hospital cafeteria located? What are its hours? What is the hospital's policy about women eating during labor? Are there carryout restaurants or grocery stores nearby?
Privacy. Will I be sharing my room with another mother? If so, can I arrange for a private room, instead?
Visitors. How many visitors am I allowed to have in my room and in the waiting room, during birth and after? What are regular visiting hours? What is the procedure for visitors? Are there age restrictions for visitors? Will they need to show identification?
Birth plans. If I have a pre-written birth plan expressing my wishes for how I'd like my birth to be managed, how can I get it placed in my file? Should I bring a copy for my file when I arrive in labor?
Hospital policies. Does your birthing facility have written policies that are followed for all laboring patients, such as the protocol for when interventions are called for? Can patients view these policies in advance?
Staffing. How many babies are born here each year? What is the ratio of labor and delivery nurses to patients? Is there a maximum number of patients that an individual nurse can be assigned to at any one time? How long are nurses' shifts in the labor and delivery area? Who oversees the nurses in the birth center?
Birthing rooms. Do you have special birthing rooms that allow women to labor and give birth without having to be moved to another place? Do all women get to give birth in these rooms? Where will labor and delivery happen if a special room is not available? Do all of your birthing rooms offer birthing tubs? Will I be allowed to use one for pain relief if I elect to? Do I need to do anything in advance to reserve one of the rooms with tubs?
Doctors-in-practice. Will medical students and residents be involved in my care? If so, will the person who supervises them be in attendance at all times? Do I have the right to refuse treatment from a physician-in-training? How would I request that?
Second opinions. What do you suggest I do if I find myself disagreeing with a procedure recommended by a health care provider during labor? Can I request a second opinion? Whom should I turn to in your facility to get that opinion?
Breastfeeding support. Is there a lactation (breastfeeding) consultant on your staff? Will my baby be allowed to nurse immediately after birth? If the baby has to go to the special care nursery (NICU) will the hospital furnish me a breast pump and will someone be available to instruct me about how to use it?
Nursery services. May I see the nursery? What services does the hospital nursery offer? Does the hospital encourage around-the-clock rooming-in for babies? Can I request that my baby be temporarily kept in the nursery if he or she is fussy, and I need rest? What routine tests, vaccinations, medications or procedures will be administered to my baby before being released from this facility? Can these procedures be done in my room if I request that, or can they only be performed in the nursery?
Pain relief. Approximately how many non-medicated births does your hospital have annually? What should I know in advance if I'm planning for an epidural? Will I be able to move around with an epidural? Will I have a catheter? Will I be able to get an epidural as soon as I'm admitted, no matter what stage of labor I am in? Do you offer patient-controlled anesthesia (a pump that allows me to control my medication)?
What devices will be used to monitor my baby and me if I have an epidural? Do epidurals sometimes fail? How long does it take to regain sensation after having one? Does the birthing wing have the services of obstetrical anesthesiologist(s)? Is this service available 24/7? Will I be able to discuss my pain relief preferences and any special conditions with him/her before I go into labor? How do I make an appointment for a consultation?
Labor monitoring equipment and exams. What is your healthcare facility's policy on continuous electronic fetal monitoring [EFM]? If don't wish to use continuous monitoring, will I be offered intermittent monitoring as an option? Can I refuse to have a pelvic exam if I am having a contraction or find it uncomfortable?
Circumcision. If we have a boy and choose to have him circumcised, where will the procedure be performed, and who will perform it? Will the procedure be covered under our insurance? Does your hospital have a policy about using pain medications during circumcision? What are my baby's pain relief options, and are any of them covered by our medical insurance?
Length of stay. How long will I be allowed to stay in the hospital after a normal birth? After a caesarean delivery?
Support after birth. Does the hospital offer aftercare visits from nurses or nurses' aids once we return home? Do you offer any special classes or support groups for new parents?
Mail. Is there a UPS or FedEx box for mailing our baby's cord blood packet if we elect to have that done?
Questions for Special Circumstances
If you are the type of person who doesn't like to be surprised by anything, then knowing about these special interventions before they happen may help you to prepare mentally for the unexpected.
Induction of labor. What percent of your patients are given drugs, such as Pitocin® to make their contractions stronger? Can I decline that option if it isn't medically necessary? If I have my labor induced or augmented, will I be able to control the level of medication I receive?
Surgical births. May I have copies of the "informed consent" forms you require for special labor and delivery situations so that I can read them in advance? What percent of your patients are given cesarean sections? What is the hospital's procedure if I need a cesarean? May I see the area where cesareans are done? Will my partner be allowed in the operating room with me? Where will I be moved for recovery? Will I feel pain after my cesarean? What are the medications that mothers typically receive? Will I have a catheter? Can I request to have it inserted after I've gotten my epidural? When is it usually removed? Will someone be available to help me go to the bathroom and lift my baby?
NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care). What care facilities do you offer newborns with special needs? Do you have a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU - pronounced "Nik-ewe")? If not, how far away is the nearest NICU, and how are babies transferred? What are the NICU's visiting policies? What will we need to do to enter the NICU to visit our baby? Would you recommend we visit there today?
If you find that the person giving you the tour can't answer all of your questions, make note of the ones that go unanswered, and ask for the telephone number of someone who can. Also consider taking a different tour with a more informed person so you feel comfortable that all your concerns have been addressed.
Staffs who work in labor and delivery areas are usually deeply concerned that their patients remain comfortable and stress free-caring for people is what they do. You'll probably be impressed at how the staff will bend over backwards to make sure that you feel welcomed and all of your questions are answered thoroughly.