As we stated in yesterday's article, being an active part of our Health Care Provider Team is the first step in helping to prevent medical errors from having potentially disastrous results in our lives. Today we continue with the second half of the tips we can utilize to help keep in touch with and work with our Health Care Providers.
- If you are to be admitted to a hospital, make sure to ask all health care providers if they have washed their hands before they have direct contact with you. While most health care providers are good about this, it never hurts to be cautious.
- If you have choice in the matter, try to choose a hospital or medical facility that specializes in your treatment. While all Doctors and medical care providers are skilled in their chosen field, a specialist hospital or facility will tend to have facilities and staff geared specifically to your needs.
- If you are to have to surgery while in the hospital, make sure to discuss with your Doctor all facets of the procedure. It is best to be sure that you, your health care provider team, and your Doctor are all on the same page and know exactly what is going to happen before, during, and after surgery. Remember to speak up if you have ANY concerns BEFORE the procedure starts.
- If you are under the care of multiple Doctors, especially if you are hospitalized, make sure that you choose one of your Doctors to be in charge of your primary care. This is very important to help prevent confusion in treatments.
- When you are being discharged from the hospital, make sure you meet with your Doctor and discuss your treatment plan, follow up visits, and how to follow your treatment from home.
- Make sure that all heath care providers on your team have all of your health information. While most of this information is kept electronically these days, you cannot assume that all of your providers have access to all of your information.
- Have a family member or trusted friend be your advocate and assistant to help you accomplish your goals before and after treatment. Your advocate also needs to be able to speak for you in the event you can not during your treatment.
- The old adage 'more does not always equal better' may hold true with your medical health as well. Be sure to discuss the validity and usefulness of new treatments or tests with your Doctor.
- Once you do undergo a new test, be sure to follow through with your Doctor for the results. You cannot assume that 'no news is good news'.
- Learn as much as you can about your condition and your treatment from your Doctor and your health care provider team. You can also research questions and answers from respected outside sources.
While we should fully trust and respect our health care providers, being an informed patient will severely lessen the risk of an unforeseen medical error causing problems in our lives. An informed patient is a healthier patient! We would love to hear more tips from our readers. Please feel free to comment with your tips for making sure we get the best care from our Health Care Providers!