January 6, 2013

January 6, 2013
Protect Yourself From Hospital Errors

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Sunday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great weekend. It is another busy weekend for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

Yesterday, I blogged about why a hospital is the worst place for a sick person to be unless it is absolutely necessary. People with HIV can have compromised immune systems - sometimes severely. So what can you do to protect yourself if you are having to be admitted to a hospital? First, read the blog from yesterday if you have not already. Then today I will blog about how to protect yourself from hospital errors.

Advocates agree that patients can minimize their risks by keeping a close eye on their care. Hospitals are busy places with lots of moving parts. "You cannot assume that people in the hospital have a really clear idea of who you are or why you're there," says Jean Rexford, director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety.

Here are some tips on how to protect yourself:

Bring an advocate a friend or family member especially for check-in and discharge. Many hospitals have a patient advocate or staff person you can consult. Or you can hire your own advocate, but be aware that the profession lacks licensing requirements, so get referrals and check credentials.

Bring a notebook. Write down all your medications, why you take them and who prescribed them. Include phone numbers of key personal and medical contacts (and don't forget your cellphone and charger). In the hospital, when questions arise, write them down.

Bring a big bottle of hand sanitizer. Put it by your bed to remind you and the staff to keep hands clean.

You can also do some research before you are admitted by going to the website for U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Hospital Compare: http://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/%28X%281%29S%2824ed4dbp33g2sf4b34meispj%29%29/search.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 where you just have to enter the name and address of the hospital to get information that is provided by the government.

Hope these tips help if you have to be admitted to a hospital. I have lost too many friends who died from reasons besides what they were admitted to the hospital for because of having severely compromised immune systems.

Hope you have a beary safe and great Sunday! Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab