Let’s Strike “Hospital Frequent Flyer” from Our Vocabulary
Posted by Carol Santalucia
Tue, Jul 30, 2013 @ 9:41 AM
Recently, as a speaker at RL Palooza 2013, I was chatting with my fellow patient advocates when we overheard someone refer to a patient as a hospital frequent flyer. This patient had been so dubbed because they had been in for assistance multiple times in a short period.
After overhearing this patient being referred to as a hospital frequent flyer, someone in the room said that she found that phrase derogatory and suggested that we agree to stop using it when referring to patients needing our help. I was so impressed with the discussion that followed.
The healthcare environment can be very difficult and sometimes even stressful. This makes it even more important for us to determine how to keep every interaction respectful and work to prevent any biases from creeping into our minds. Referring to someone as a hospital frequent flyer indicates that we are giving in to these biases.
I think it is important for us to keep empathy at the forefront of all of our healthcare interactions. After all, you never know exactly what each patient is going through or what unique circumstances have led them to their interaction with you. This video, produced by the Cleveland Clinic, demonstrates that idea beautifully.
So what’s your take on terms like hospital frequent flyer? In the healthcare world, are there other terms you feel we should strike from our vocabulary? Leave a comment below to keep the discussion going.
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