Monday, March 9, 2015

A New Acronym to Add to Your Collection

Acronyms...I love em!  When I was a little girl, my dad would write me notes that almost always included a cryptic little message at the bottom left hand side of the page:  SWAK- Sealed with a Kiss, KOS-  Keep on Smiling, DLYML-  Don't Let Your Meat Loaf .  What? I never really understood that last one, but I still use it when I write notes to my kids. (Dad, if you're reading this, give me a call- you've got some explaining to do!)

In elementary school, I learned the colors of the rainbow using the acronym:  Roy G Biv. My first band instructor, Mr. Wood, taught use to use FACE to remember the notes on the spaces on the treble clef . He also taught us that Every Good Boy Does Fine so that we could learn the notes on the lines on the treble clef.

When I got to junior high, our PE teacher, Coach Herlosky,  was just doing his job when he taught us that CPR stood for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. He totally blew my mind when he went on to teach us that SCUBA was an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Only a real intellectual giant would know that! I felt like the smartest girl in the world.

As I got older and school got tougher, acronyms became an easy way to remember stuff. My mom was a teacher and she was a big fan of this creative memory technique. She and her kooky letter combinations helped me memorize more stuff than can be listed here.  Flash forward to graduate school. My study partner, Normie Rodriguez, taught me an acronym to top all acronyms- the one for remembering the 12 cranial nerves.  Did you learn it too?   I won't list it here because this is a family show, but maybe you recall:  Oh, Oh, Oh To Touch And Feel...  (A quick Google search will help you find the rest if you're not familiar.)

These days, acronyms are everywhere! You can't send a text message to your BFF without an LOL, JK or TTYL. When thumbing through fashion mags, it's not unusual to read about the latest trends for the LBD.  At work, you may request an order from the PCP for an MBSS, pending HMO approval. See what I mean, they're everywhere!

Earlier this week, I was thrilled when I read about CHOKES. It is an absolutely brilliant acronym that was created to standardize aspiration precautions at a community hospital. Of course, you should read the entire article so I added a link below. Until then, here's the good stuff:

Complete oral care after every meal, minimum of every shift
Have suction set up in the room
Observe swallow and monitor PO intake
Keep patient at 90 degrees while eating
Elevate head of bed to a minimum of 30 degrees at all times
Sign posted at door: Aspiration Precautions

I have committed CHOKES to memory and have started using it when teaching family members and caregivers. Maybe you want to try it out too?  Once again, here is the link: Reducing Aspiration: A Group Effort.

Before you speak, THINK: 

T- it is true?
H- is it helpful?
I- is it inspiring?
N- is it necessary?
K- is it kind?