Friday, August 3, 2012

Code for the Day: Something Clark Griswold Never Thought About Z75.5

I hope you have enjoyed the last few weeks of Code for the Day posts and please savor this one.  Because I'm going on vacation!  For a little more than a week, I plan to take a small trip, get to some of those things around the house that there never seems to be time for, and read a book or two poolside.  My biggest plan is to turn off all work-related emails and leave my code books shut.  I couldn't leave, though, without giving you one last installment of the code for the day.  Don't worry, I'll be back and blogging more codes for the day in a couple of weeks.

Let's see, what code would be appropriate with a vacation theme?  How about this?
  • Z75.5, Holiday relief care
Okay, you caught me.  There's an identical code in ICD-9-CM (V60.5), so it's hardly new.  But I always liked the code description.  Let's break it down.  The word holiday gives me visions of taking off to exotic locals outfitted in a flowing sundress, big sunglasses, and a floppy hat.  The word relief, to me, means that getting away is such a relief to be out of the day-to-day bustle.  And finally, care - taking care of yourself during your holiday relief.

The reality is so much more boring.  First of all, when I take off, it's usually not to an exotic locale.  When I travel, it's not in a flowing sundress and floppy hat - more like slip-on shoes and clothes comfortable enough to hoof it through the airport and then sit on a plane for hours without worrying about catching my skirt on the plane seat arms.  And floppy hats are not really conducive to storage in the overhead bin.  And finally, code Z75.5 isn't about me taking care of myself at all - it's the code we use for admitting a patient to the hospital because his family went on vacation and couldn't arrange other care for him.

When I first heard about holiday relief care, I couldn't believe it was true.  People actually take their elderly and sick family members and leave them at a hospital when they can't take them with them or arrange other care?  It does happen.  But not in the movies, apparently.  As I type this, I have the theme song from National Lampoon's Vacation going through my head.  Good old Clark Griswold never did think of leaving Aunt Edna at a hospital and maybe he should have.  Of course, they were trying to transport her to another relative and had no idea she would die on the way.  But it does give a humorous look at a serious subject - what do we do with our elderly relatives when it's time to take a holiday? 

Have a terrific weekend and I will see you after my holiday!