Getting the Best Hospital Care
If there is a hospitalization in your future, you're likely to have lots of people taking care of you. While no one intentionally sets out to make mistakes, errors can and do happen. By taking an active role in your care, you can improve the quality of the care you receive.
- Practice makes perfect. If you are having elective surgery, make sure that the hospital to which you are being admitted has had lots of experience handling your specific condition. If you need help getting this information, ask your doctor or contact HAP Client Services.
- Don't assume that everyone who provides care or services for you is familiar with your case. You may have to repeat the same information several times in the course of your hospitalization.
- Clean hands are safer hands. This is an important way of helping prevent the spread of germs and infection. Tactfully insist that health care workers wash their hands before caring for you.
- Be your own advocate. Ask what test or x-ray is being done to make sure you are getting the correct procedure. If you're having knee surgery, for example, pay attention to whether your right knee or left knee is being prepped.
- "More" is not always "better." Find out why a test or service has been ordered and how it will help you. It's possible you may not need it. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
- Get your test results. Don't assume that no news is good news. Ask your doctor or nurse to explain the results of your tests or get them in writing.
- Get the right medicine at the right time as ordered by your doctor.
- Call on a friend. Have a family member or friend present to act as another set of ears when your diagnosis and/or treatments are being explained. You'll also have someone to help you or deal with the staff if you can't.
- Anticipate going home. Before leaving the hospital, make sure you understand your discharge orders, including any prescriptions you will be taking. See if the doctor has any suggestions about how you can help yourself recover more quickly. Ask when you can return to your regular activities and whether you need a follow-up appointment.
Remember, it's important to speak up. You have the absolute right and responsibility to be involved in decisions affecting your health and your family's health. If you have any concerns about the quality of care you or a family member received during a hospitalization, contact Client Services.