7 Steps for Staying Safe During Your Hospital Stay

July 8, 2016

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t look forward to hospital visits. It can be easy to become complacent while you’re there. After all, everyone around you is paid to provide care, but don’t be lulled into thinking nothing can go wrong.

Yes, the staff is there to help, but a hospital is a big place that handles large amounts of precarious materials and completes complicated procedures. One in twenty hospital patients contracts a secondary infection during their stay, and it’s also common to receive the wrong medication by accident — both situations are avoidable and can come with serious consequences.

You should do what you can to avoid any mix-ups during your time at the hospital. If should be your own advocate and ask for help from your thoughtful friends, so you’re likely to receive the best care possible and leave with a clean bill of health.

Consider the following seven tips:

  1. Be Picky When Choosing Your Hospital: From Yelp to Glassdoor to Consumer Reports, the internet loves a review, and hospitals are one example of this infatuation’s better side. Modern technology makes it easy to investigate different facilities available before your admittance. Make sure other patients are positive about their experience with the procedure you’ll receive.
  2. Choose a Good Time for Surgery: The best time for surgery is Tuesday through Thursday, during the morning hours. On Mondays, operations can be pushed back due to overflow from weekends, and if you’re staying over the weekend you might receive less care because there are fewer nurses on hand. See if you can request an early morning appointment on one of these days.
  3. Ask a Friend or Family Member for Help: The staff at your hospital wants you to get well, but they can’t give you the dedication and devotion of a good friend. They have too many patients to care for. Appoint one or more people you trust to familiarize themselves with this list and to make sure you receive proper care while in the hospital.
  4. Keep an Eye on Your Meds: If you regularly take prescription medication, bring a list of the medications you take with you to the hospital and give it to your nurse for keeping with your charts. Ask to know what you are being given, for what reason and what does — you should do this whenever you receive medication while hospitalized. When you leave, make sure all the medicine on your list is accurate.
  5. Make Sure Your Chart and Records Are Accurate : Verify that the information on your chart is correct — this helps your avoid receiving the wrong medication, as mentioned above. It might seem like a blatant mistake to make that’s unlikely to happen. However, hospital staff are tasked with looking after huge numbers of different patients. One wrong note on your chart could result in your receiving the wrong treatment or medication. Double-check your personal info as soon as your chart is complete.
  6. Avoid Infection: Nowhere are you in closer proximity to dangerous infection than in a hospital. Luckily, well-run facilities maintain high standards of cleanliness by regularly scrubbing floors and ensuring the staff members practice appropriate hygiene measures for such a sensitive environment. If you notice redness, inflammation or any other signs that you’re getting an infection, speak up quickly and have your nurse or doctor investigate.
  7. Bank Your Blood: If you are going in for surgery and know that you’ll need to receive a transfusion afterwards, you can plan ahead and store blood for use post-op. Using your own blood is a safe way to avoid complications.
  8. Move Around: If you’ve been laid up for an operation, getting back on your feet is one of the most therapeutic things you can do and will help speed up your recovery time. Ask a friend or nurse for help moving around if you’re still weak. Take walks in hospital hallways and increase the distance as your strength returns.
  9. Remember That Your Doctor Is Your Best Friend: Never hesitate to reach out to your physician if you’re not confident about a medication or procedure. Hospital staff should understand if you want to confirm anything before committing to something that will affect your health. You can always call your doctor and ask for their opinion.
  10. Be Certain You’re Physically Ready to Leave: You should try to leave as soon as you feel well enough. Getting back on your feet and away from the potential dangers of the hospital can aid you in a speedy recovery, but don’t be forced. If you can’t keep food down, you’re unconfident using a part of your body following an operation and you’re not prescribed therapy or you’re still feeling the aftereffects of medication, ask to stay longer.

When medical conditions demand it, the hospital is likely the best place for you to be, but it doesn’t come without hazards. The best advice you can follow during your hospital stay is to advocate for yourself. When you’re not well, you must make yourself a priority. Think of it this way: The better your standard of care, the sooner you can be on your way home.

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