Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Normalizing Patients

At some point during their hospital stay, most patients should be normalized. In the rush to manage more complex problems, this is easily overlooked. Normalization means turning a "patient" into a "normal person." This is accomplished by removing intravenous lines and catheters, stopping unnecessary medications, not drawing labs daily, getting people out of bed, and planning for discharge. A patient who is otherwise doing well may stay in the hospital for weeks (or even die) because of a complication like line sepsis, urinary tract infection from a catheter, or deep venous thrombosis. Sometimes, these complications may be prevented by early and aggressive normalization.

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