In our monthly compilation of selected comments, H&HN Daily readers offer their takes on how the health care system can prepare for the impact of aging Baby Boomers, the importance of living wills and recent advancements in the nursing field.


In response to H&HN Managing Editor Bill Santamour's Oct. 25 column "5 Ways to Avoid a Health Care Train Wreck," which explored the demands aging Baby Boomers are expected to put on the U.S. health care system in coming years, reader Wayne Fischer writes:

"Too late, Mr. Santamour — this 'train' has already wrecked! After working more than 11 years in quality improvement in two major health care organizations, I can say the waste is huge, not because of those of us who work in health care, but because of the systems within which they must work — the worst of which being the perverted payment system. The coming of the Boomers is the speeding train that doesn't see the wreck just ahead of it… around the bend."

On Nov. 7, H&HN publisher Mary Grayson discussed the importance of living wills in her article and podcast, A Life, and Death, Conversation. Reader Denise responds:

"My father had the most complete and all encompassing advanced directive his physician had ever seen, and yet my stepmother still refused to let him go after a massive stroke. Does the advanced directive ever take precedence over family wishes?"

Reader Susan Walker, an educational publishing specialist, also weighed in:

"Absolutely! We all need to have this discussion for ourselves and for our parents. Thanks to my R.N. mother, the topic wasn't quite as daunting, and now that she has dementia, it's a relief that those decisions have already been made. However, I delayed until the day before I had major surgery, but at least I've taken care of it."

Courtney Lyder, dean of the UCLA School of Nursing and H&HN Daily contributor, recently surveyed notable advancements in the nursing field over the last decade. The article, Nurses at the Forefront of Change, received a flurry of responses, including this one from Kristin Baird, R.N:

"Courtney, thank you for a well-written summary. For years I have felt that nurses' contributions have gone largely unnoticed. Although my career has taken me away from the bedside, nursing laid the foundation for my path and my passion for improving the patient experience."

And finally, reader Michele responded to my recent blog on the role of scripted communication tools in hospitals.

"Scripting is designed to decrease the anxiety of the patient and improve their experience. It's not optional, but it is flexible. It's very important to create a script that meets the needs of the patient and that is easy for the practitioner to participate in. As with all things, we must keep the patient at the center of our decisions and they've spoken clearly that scripting improves their experience."

Haydn Bush is senior online editor for Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.