What you need to do in the Hospital
Have an advocate -- a friend or relative -- with you as much as possible in the hospital. When checking in, be sure the advocate has legal permission to know details about your treatment.
- Your advocate should ask questions on your behalf and not be intimidated by hospital staff.
- You should select a hospital where your procedure is done often.
- Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies, pre-existing conditions or adverse reactions to medications.
- Bring a list of all medications and supplements you take.
- Each time a nurse brings you medication, ask the following: What is the medicine for? Who prescribed it? When am I supposed to take it? How am I supposed to take it? What are side effects? Is it safe to take with other medications?
- Personnel should check each patient's wristband before drawing blood or giving medication.
- It's critical to avoid infection. Don't let anyone give you anything that's dirty or has fallen on the floor. Ask people entering your room to wash their hands.
- Avoid wrong-site surgery. Surgeons should sign their initials prior to surgery on the body part being operated on; your advocate should ensure that the surgeon has indicated the correct site.
- Don't leave the hospital until you and your advocate fully understand all post-treatment instructions, including what medication to take, proper dosages, when to schedule follow-up appointments and when you can return to normal activities.
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