How to Be Safe and Healthy During a Hospital Visit and Stay
Hospital Visit: You would not immediately associate a hospital as a place that could be dangerous to your health. But like any other place, there are actions others or you can take that can put your health at risk. Cases range from getting prescribed the wrong dosage or becoming a victim of medical malpractice. To come into contact with harmful bacteria.
But the good news is that awareness and taking action to protect yourself can go far to keep you safe from a majority of the risks. Here are 5 ways you can play an active role to protect yourself during your hospital stay or visit.
Know your case history.
Hospital nurses and doctors see a wide number of patients daily. It is not unheard of for a patient to be prescribed the wrong medication or dosage. Or for a patient to receive surgery due to wrong-site or a wrong procedure being listed on his or her chart. Whether you are in the hospital for yourself, or you are visiting a loved one, take an active role by asking questions. Know the procedure that you are receiving. Research the medications and dosages that you should be taking. Talk with the nurses. Do not worry about being annoying. That double check you request could be the reminder that could prevent errors. The more alert and aware you are, the better.
Avoid going alone.
If you are too sick to advocate for yourself or be aware of what is going on regarding your care, bring an advocate with you. For example, your partner, a sibling, a parent, a friend, or close family member. Someone who can pose questions to the doctors and nurses in your place. Your advocate can double check important concerns with your medical care team. And be aware of appointments and medication amounts for you. In a Consumer Reports survey, they found that having an advocate with you made you 16 percent more likely to be treated with respect by medical staff.
Take notes of medications and staff.
If you are unable to bring an advocate with you. Or if you have a family member in the hospital who does not have an advocate who can stay. Or even if you are the advocate of a person in the hospital. Keep detailed notes of all medication and staff on call. Doing this is essential for pinpointing what went wrong if and when something does not go as it should. Use your phone to take pictures of drugs you do not recognize, or to record conversations with staff on medications given. The more detailed your notes, the better you will be able to spot something that is out of the norm.
Guard against infection.
Not all hospital infections are due to problems with the staff or cleanliness standards. Sometimes, the body’s bacteria cause problems due to inability to a weakened immune system.
It is therefore important to have a good understanding of how infections occur and how one can guard against them. This is true whether you are visiting a friend, or have a hospital stay that spans a couple of days or longer. A couple tips from the experts include asking everyone who enters your room to wash their hands. As well as bringing your own bleach wipes from home and wiping down bed rails, the phone, the TV remote, and anywhere you and others come in contact.
Shorten recovery time.
Reducing your recovery time in the hospital is one of the best ways to limit the time you could get a hospital infection. One of the best ways to recover quickly is to value your mobility. Get up as often as the doctor and your condition will allow. If you are prescribed bed rest, you can still be mobile in your bed by wriggling and tensing muscles. Depending on how much mobility you have, change positions in bed. Sit up as much as possible. Stretch as much as possible. Ask your medical care team what exercises your body’s range of movement will allow and do these faithfully.
When you are not exercising, make sleep a priority. While you sleep, your body can heal itself and repair damaged areas. Do not feel guilty about feeling tired or needing extra shut-eye during this time. Sleep is one of the things that will get you out the hospital door and back to your normal life once again.
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