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Keep yourself safe in the hospital

An admission to the hospital can be frightening because you don't know for sure what's going to happen. You have to ensure that you are taking steps to keep yourself safe and protected while you are a patient.

There are many different things that you can do to increase your chance of remaining as healthy as possible throughout your admission. Here are a few hospital safety tips to consider:

Bring a friend or loved one

Have someone who can sit with you, especially when you know you will receive important information. Even if you are able to catch the majority of what is being said, your friend or loved one can take notes for you. They might also be able to think of some questions that didn't come to your mind.

On top of having someone who can listen in with you, make sure that you have a trustworthy person to make medical decisions for you just in case you can't make them for yourself. This person should have a power of attorney designation so they can legally speak up for you.

Always ask questions

As the patient, you have the right to know what is going on. Ask questions about what tests are being run and what medications you are given. Ask why things are being done and what side effects might come from them. Find out as much as you can so that you have a good understanding about what is going on.

Pay close attention to the medications you are being given. If anything looks different from what you are accustomed to at home, find out why. There is a chance that it is just a marking difference. However, you might be able to catch a medication error before it negatively impacts your health.

Keep an eye on everyone

One of the most important things that you can do is watch anyone who comes into your room to ensure they are washing their hands prior to doing anything else. This might seem simple, but handwashing is one of the frontline defenses against the spread of infections.

Hospital-acquired infections can be very serious. The risk is increased if you have IVs or catheters, so always find out if they are still necessary. If they aren't, ask if they can be removed.

Pay attention to discharge plans

There is a chance that you will be discharged before you are actually ready. Always find out what the plan is so that you can help the medical team to determine if you can care for yourself when you are discharged. If you don't think that you are ready, speak up. Find out if there is anything you can do to prevent a premature discharge. The issue might be with your insurer, so that might be a battle you have to fight.

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