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Patients play a critical role in ensuring their own safety while in the hospital. Better medical outcomes generally result when patients take an active role in their own health care. Listed here are a number of recommendations for patients and their families, to help caregivers provide them with a safe, high-quality inpatient hospital stay.
Ensure good communication:
When you need to be hospitalized, make sure you understand what your treatment will include. Be informed and feel free to ask questions.
Feel free to share any concerns you may have about your treatment.
Don’t be afraid to speak up if you think something is wrong.
Share your complete health profile with members of your health care team.
Tell your doctor about previous surgeries, hospitalizations, medical problems, and any previous medical complications, even if you don’t think past medical issues have a bearing on your current problem.
Have family and friends involved in your care.
If possible, have a friend or family member with you when you meet with health care providers, to help you to ask questions and to interpret and remember the answers.
Medication, stress, pain and fatigue can affect your ability to communicate, so it’s always a good idea to have someone available to help.
Be medication wise:
Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any drug allergies.
Whenever possible, make sure the medication that is dispensed is the one the doctor ordered. If it looks different from what you expected, talk to your physician or nurse.
Please inform a member of your health care team if you have brought any over-the-
counter medications, herbal remedies, or vitamins with you. Some of these items may have interactions when taken with prescription medications or they may be contraindicated if you are having surgery. It is best to take only those medications which are dispensed through our pharmacy.
For your protection, your ID band and allergy band should be worn at all times until your discharge. If the information on the band is incorrect or if it falls off or is removed, please tell your nurse.
Expect that all staff members will identify you using two identifiers (such as asking you to spell your last name and state your birth date) before administering any medication or performing any procedure.
Help prevent the spread of infection:
Remind your friends and family to wash or sanitize their hands before coming into direct contact with you.
Discourage friends and family with an active cough from visiting you at the hospital or accompanying you on your doctor visits.
Jefferson Healthcare is participating in a hand-washing study. We ask you to participate by asking any caregiver who has not washed or sanitized his or her hands upon entering your room to do so.
If your call light, bedside table, telephone or anything else you need is out of your reach, let your nurse know.
Ask for help before you get out of bed, especially if you feel dizzy.
Sit on the side of the bed before standing and stand up slowly.
Wear slippers with a non-skid sole (if you would like a pair, please ask your nurse).
Be aware of obstacles in your path and ask for assistance if you need something moved.
Avoid skin breakdown:
Change position at least every two hours;
Use pillows to protect common pressure points;
Maintain a clean, dry environment for all areas of skin; and
If you or your family notices reddened or broken skin, notify your nurse or physician immediately.
Avoid post-surgical blood clots
(deep venous thrombosis or DVT)
DVT is a common problem following many types of surgical procedures. The body is trying to stop bleeding associated with surgery, so the clotting mechanism is very active at this time. To reduce the risk of DVT, do the following:
Pump your feet up and down by bending at the ankles (like pushing on a gas pedal); Do this exercise as often as possible;
Wear support hose following surgery (provided); and
You may be given a blood-thinning drug.
Avoid lung problems
It is important that your lungs are working at their best following surgery to ensure that you get plenty of oxygen to the tissues of the body that are trying to heal. Lungs that are not exercised properly after surgery can lead to poor blood oxygen levels and can develop pneumonia.
Following surgery you will need to do a few things to keep your lungs working well:
Your nurse will encourage you to take frequent deep breaths and to cough often;
Get out of bed as soon as you are able and sit upright in a chair. Please ask for assistance the first couple of times to ensure that you are stable on your feet;
A respiratory therapist may help you to breathe better by using special breathing equipment; and
Walk around as soon as you are able to do so safely.
Obtain as much information as possible before having surgery:
Ask your surgeon to explain the procedure he or she will be performing.
Request specifics about the surgery as they pertain to you, such as
How long will the procedure take?
How should you expect to feel after the surgery?
How long should your recovery take?
What are the potential complications?
What help might you need at home after surgery?
Verify that the doctor or nurse has clearly marked the body part on which they will operate.
Let your surgeon and anesthesiologist know if you have had an allergy or bad reaction to anesthesia.
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