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Stay Safe When You’re in the Hospital

Take an active part in your care decisions while you are in the hospital. Also take extra safety measures to not get an infection when in the hospital. Doing so can help keep you and your family safe, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says.

Avoid infection

Hospital-associated infections are common in people who have had major surgery. They are also common for people on kidney dialysis or who have an immune system weakened by illness or medicine.

Here's how to protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands often if you’re a patient or are visiting someone in the hospital. Use warm water and soap to wash. Keep washing for about 20 seconds. You also can use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

  • Insist that healthcare workers wash their hands in front of you.

  • Before you check into a hospital for a procedure, talk with your surgeon the steps that will be taken to protect you from any infections while you are in the hospital.

Prevent errors

Accidental deaths occur when people are given the wrong medicines or the right medicines in the wrong doses. The following tips can help you prevent medical errors and stay safe:

  • Speak up if you have questions or concerns.

  • Make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicine. For example, if you’re having surgery, ask the healthcare provider to mark the area that’s to be operated on. This way there will be no confusion.

  • Make sure every nurse and healthcare provider confirms your identity by checking your wristband before he or she gives you any medicines.

  • Ask a family member or friend to be your support to help you monitor your care. This is especially needed if you’re heavily medicated or sedated.

  • Take part in and learn about all decisions regarding your treatment. You and your healthcare provider should agree on exactly what will be done during each step of your care.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Holloway, Beth, RN, MEd
  • Pierce-Smith, Daphne, RN, MSN, CCRC