How to be Hospital Smart

Posted on

Oct 27, 2015

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Nobody wants to go to the hospital, but sometimes you have to. Thats why its a good idea to prepare by doing your homework.

Plan ahead

Most people dont have a conversation with their physician about hospitals until it is time for an admission. I advise people to have that conversation early, says Rick Wade, senior vice president for communications at the American Hospital Association. Ask what hospitals your doctor practices at, and why, he says.

If you know you will be having a particular procedure, You can ask your doctor which hospitals are best in your area, suggests Patrick Roney, M.D., physician at an Erickson community.

Interview the hospital

Call or visit the hospitals you are interested in using, and Dont be afraid to ask questions, says Wade. Hospitals appreciate patients who are highly aware and involved in their care.

Make a list of questions to ask the hospital. Depending on what is most important to you, some valuable questions might include: Does the hospital provide short-term rehabilitation or home health care services after your stay? If there is any concern about the quality of care, who do you call? Is it possible to have a family member stay overnight in your room with you?

Avoid an infection

Its always important to be aware of infection in the hospital. You should avoid letting anyone give you an intravenous injection without putting on gloves.

Also, Dont be bashful about asking people to take precautions. If someone comes in your room, point them to the sink. When your friends or family come to visit, tell them to wash their hands, says Wade.

Check your chart

Because your current medications and allergies may not be accurate in the hospitals record, Wade recommends you, Become familiar with your medical record, particularly what medications you are on and what allergies you have. Take that information with you when you go to the hospital. If a friend or family member goes with you, make sure they know these things too.

Also make sure your blood type is listed correctly, says Roney. If you have any problem with anesthesia, make sure it is listed in your chart too.

Use these tips from the experts, and your next hospital visit is sure to be a smarter one.

Editors note: This information was provided by Cedar Crest, an Erickson community in Pompton Plains, New Jersey, that offers independent living in a full-service retirement community. Renaissance Gardens, the health care neighborhood at Cedar Crest, provides Respite Care, Short-Term Rehabilitation, Assisted Living, and Long-Term Care to people living inside and outside Cedar Crest. For more information, contact the Health Care Counselor at Renaissance Gardens by calling 973-831-3755.

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