Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.
Some believe that health care kills more people than everything except cancer and heart disease
80,000 to 150,000 people died in 1996 in the U.S. from infections they caught in a hospital
ASAP and if you need to use a hospital:
- Compare local hospitals, e.g., at HealthGrades.com
- Check out hospital emergency rooms before an emergency happens to your family:
- How accessible?
- Long lines?
- Determine if the state has a report (e.g. hospital effectiveness report) which compares facilities by procedures for things such as death rate, complication rate, cost
- Ask for the following information from the hospital (if the hospital provides all of the information, it’s probably a good place to use):
- What’s their infection rate?
- What’s their morbidity rate?
- Call the joint commission on hospital accreditation and ask if the hospital you’re considering has any infection control problems
- Ask hospital personnel if they use special ointments on sterile sites to help control spread of infections
- Be aware that major teaching hospitals might result in a better recovery and a shorter stay
When being treated at a hospital or doctor’s office:
- Don’t use cell phone near the hospital – can affect equipment
- Ask lots of questions (the patient who asks the most questions usually gets the best care)
- Communicate extensively with your doctor
- Never have surgery performed on you by anyone you haven’t talked to at great length
- Ask for another doctor if you’re not comfortable with your current doctor, even if you’re already in the hospital
- Have someone with you
- Use available personnel in hospital e.g. patient advocates, patient representatives
- Know what medications you, or your family member, are supposed to get and what dose – so you can tell nurse if nurse tries to give you wrong medication or too much of a medication
Before a hospital worker touches you, your medicine or your IV:
- Ensure they wash their hands where you can see them