Experience and research shows that when patients and families have access to the people and information they need, and are able to actively participate in care and decision making, every outcome improves. Patients recover better and faster, with less stress all around. Life stays closer to normal for everyone.
Hospitals are fast-paced, intimidating places. But ethically and legally, the patient and only the patient is the person truly in charge. Honesty, openness, and information are the building blocks. When these are present, anxiety and fear are greatly reduced, and trust grows. Good care depends on these.
What may at first seem to be the worst thing that could possibly happen often turns out to be a time of deep personal growth and renewed connections that make life truly worth living in surprising ways. Major life events like heart surgery often help us see and appreciate the things that really matter.
Anna Nelson Uhlig with her father, Kenneth Nelson, near Little River, KS, about 1984
Having a heart operation is definitely a family event.
The reality is that having heart surgery is a big deal — not just for the patient, but for a lot of other people, too. Ordinary life goes on hold as families adjust schedules, change plans, wait, and worry. Each of us has a family, even if our family is a friend or neighbor, or even a pet.