Staying in the hospital can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Making sure you’re prepared for an overnight or prolonged visit can help make for a safe and successful stay. Here are our best tips to ensure you’re prepared before you go and that your personal safety is protected while you’re getting the care you need.
- Bring a helper. Bringing a friend or family member with you to the hospital ensures you have an advocate on your side to help keep you safe. This person can serve as an extra set of eyes and ears and help put you at ease.
- Prepare an information kit. When you’re packing for your stay, make sure to bring documents detailing medications you’re taking, medical conditions and history, allergies, physician and health care information and any other pertinent information. This is a good tool to have on hand even if you’re not going to the hospital in the near future.
- Ask lots of questions. It’s important you feel comfortable and confident about upcoming medical procedures. Asking questions about the risks, alternatives and care you’ll need afterward will help you fully understand what’s about to happen, which can provide peace of mind before your visit.
- Protect yourself from potential infections. Although hospitals seem sterile, they can be a breeding ground for infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 648,000 people in the U.S. develop infections during a hospital stay and about 75,000 die. Make sure your doctors and visitors are regularly washing their hands with soap and water. Antiseptic wipes and sprays can also kill many germs. Catheters are often necessary during a hospital stay but can be a source of germs. Insist that yours is kept clean and replaced at regular intervals.
- Keep a record during your stay. Take note of everything that is happening while you are at the hospital. For example, making note of medications and tests (with results) can help prevent any mistakes and make sure your care is on track.
- Speak up. If something is happening that just doesn’t seem right, don’t be afraid to speak up. Make sure to speak to the doctor, nurse or your personal advocate about the issue you are experiencing. You know your body best, so if something is not going well or symptoms are worsening it’s important to let your care team know right away.
Do you have experience with hospital stays? What are your tips for staying safe? Share with us in the comments. If you found this post helpful, you might also want to read:
- Protecting Your Medical Data from Fraud
- How BCBSM is Reining in Health Care Costs and Improving Patient Outcomes
- Why Improved Medical Device Labels Could Improve Patient Safety
Photo credit: HRAUN