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Surviving in the Hospital

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/27/2007 | Health
Being placed in a hospital is not a guarantee that you are going to get the best treatment possible. As a patient, you need to do all you can to make certain you get the best possible care while you are there. If you are unable to do so, your family must handle this for you.

Discuss this with your family before you ever end up in the hospital. Everyone in your family should understand what needs to be done.

If you are receiving any treatments, know what the treatments are for and make certain they are a necessity. Ask if there are any side effects.

Make sure you are in the hospital that is best for your condition. For example, if you have a heart condition and may be in need of a bypass, ask your doctor if this is the best hospital in your area to perform this. Some hospitals have better success rates in different procedures and it is important you are in the correct facility. Your doctor should not be offended if you ask this and, if he or she is, you might want to consider finding another doctor.

If you have medications at home, you can save a lot of money bringing them in. Most hospitals send your medications to the lab to make certain they are what they are supposed to be. The lab then returns them to the nurses area that is taking care of you. They use your medications and return the ones that are left when you leave.

Exercise your right to say no. If you are sleeping good, say no to sleeping pills. If you are not in pain, you can tell them you do not want your pain medication until you actually need it.

If your nurse gives you a pill you are unfamiliar with, ask them what the pill is, why it has been prescribed to you, and what the side effects are. If you are on anti-rejection medications for a kidney transplant you have had, for instance, make certain they contact the hospital that performed that operation and verify the medication does not counteract these medicines.

Insist your bathroom is cleaned and disinfected daily. Make certain doctors and nurses have washed their hands thoroughly before you let them examine you.

If your medications are not taking care of your problem, ask your nurse to contact the physician and have them prescribe a new medication, or up the dose. For example, if you are still in pain after taking a pain medication, let the nurse know you need something else as your pain will not go away.

These steps are important. Remember, the hospital is full of people with different diseases. A high number of patients contract a disease they did not have before they arrived.

Many patients receive operations they did not need. Get a second opinion.

The nursing staff is busy. They may be giving you a morphine shot when you are allergic to morphine. It happens.

Take charge when you are in the hospital and make certain there are family members who can do so if you are unable to. The idea is to receive proper treatment and make a recovery. Do not be concerned you will offend anyone. You have a right to the best care you can receive.