I've often wanted to do reviews of various programs and facilities but, with the exception of covering sports over the years, I've never really had the opportunity to do so, at least publicly. But after my recent ten day stay for surgery in the Lancaster General Hospital I think I'll take the opportunity to do so. So what it is worth, here goes.
PARKING - B Normally it is very good and convenient with the James St. Garage. But this time, because the fourth floor was not cleared of snow, parking was often very hard to find, especially later in the day. And for some reason they closed entrance to the lot about 10 pm. When I had a sudden problem my wife was able to get in just as it was closing, but a few minutes later it was closed to my son who had to return home. So what do you do if a family member develops an emergency when the lot is closed?
ADMISSION - A No problem at all. They took me when I got there and within 15 minutes I was already in a pre-op bed. No waiting. Nurses were friendly and helpful.
SURGICAL NURSES - A They were efficient, kind and helped - put you at ease. They respected how nervous I was and did all that they could to calm me and explain what was happening. Those in the ICU, especially John, were outstanding. All they were missing was a nurse named Matthew. While I was awake I had Mark, Luke and then John assigned to me, in that order.
ROOM NURSES - B+ This is a hard one to evaluate fairly because I did have a number of excellent nurses assigned to me once I was placed in a regular room. The problem was that generally they changed every 8 to 12 hours and seldom did I have the same nurse a second time. But I did have some very exceptional, caring ones and that was a highlight of my stay. Fortunately they made up for a couple who lacked good bedside manners and didn't seem to want to be there. I also had a number of student nurses and it was difficult to evaluate them since they were in a variety of training stages. The only real complaint was that sometimes it took too long to summon a nurse with the call bell when you needed something like going to the bathroom. But I assume that each had a heavy load and were busy helping others.
FOOD - C Now this is a tough one to evaluate since I had no appetite during my stay and because they put me on limited diets. In fact, I lost nearly 20 pounds during those ten days. There were numerous choices I could make, most of the time. But when the food appeared - 7:30, 11:30 and 4:30 - I usually wasn't hungry yet and the smell turned me off. Often it was returned, uneaten, except for the fruit bowls and cereal. I did enjoy the cereal but there was so little of it and they would not allow me to have it for lunch or supper. However, a few kind nurses did find some for me a few times. Even the coffee and tea did not taste good to me, but that might have been because of the Lancaster water. We only drink bottled distilled water at home so that makes a big difference.
ROOM - D Now let me clarify this. The pre-op room and ICU room were fine. The fact that I had private rooms was excellent. But the room that I spent most of my time in was terrible. It was small. It was poorly designed. There was only a very small window that was blocked and if you could have seen out you would have seen another wall. The only times that I could see the weather was when they took me for tests. It was very inconvenient for visitors. I felt like a prisoner there. In fact, a few nights when I was in bed and not able to sleep I felt like the walls were actually pushing in on me. I was told that many of the rooms in that unit were even worse. But it was cleaned regularly. I think the room added much to the boredom that I faced much of the time there.
DISCHARGE - D As in my previous stays there the discharge procedure was very slow. It came several hours after the last doctor told me that I could go home and signed off on me. In fact, while we waited and waited, the evening meal was even delivered. After I pushed the issue a few times, a different nurse came and quickly went through things. It was obvious that she had other things on her mind such as talking to her boss about her schedule. But, finally about 6:15, we were ushered out to the car.
If any major surgery can be a good experience, than I would say in summary that my LGH experience was fine. I hope that I never have to go back again, but if I did, LGH would still be my choice.