Independence Day Tip (inspired by a patient with dementia and her caregiver)

Photo by Tricia Galvin on Unsplash

UTIs are part of the human condition, and unfortunately, more so for elderly women with dementia. My Pre-R patient’s caregiver tries to help her stay ahead of her infections to keep her healthy and out of ERs, so I suggested she get ahold of the last urine culture from her last ER visit. She went somewhere that I don’t work, so it wasn’t trivial for me to just have a gander online. It should have been easy, but I’d forgotten this is the land of the free… and HIPAA.

My patient’s caregiver was told it would be way easier for her doctor to get the records to hand to her. So I was asked to give a try, even though I wasn’t the ordering doctor. I called and was told the patient herself would have to come in to sign a release, since they didn’t have her caregiver’s POA on file.

(For the record, I’m pretty sure no foreign hackers are stealing urine culture and sensitivities results, and I’d be happy to share mine with the world.)

So today’s Independence Day tip is this: 
Every time you’re seen at an ER, urgent care, or anywhere, gather all the lab/radiology reports and EKG copies you can lay your hands on. Ask for recent cultures too since those take a few days to grow. Your nurses or docs may roll their eyes when you ask, but it’s all about your future freedom from signature hassles and the like. 😉

Not patriotic enough? Sorry. I’m at work between patients and kids are home enjoying a neighborhood parade wearing superhero capes I made them last night. Call me Scrooge. 😉

Enjoy today. Drive safe. Keep your digits.

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