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.
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 clean, running 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. Don't hesitate to
do this and encourage family members to do the same if you are unable to speak due
Before you check into a hospital for a procedure, talk with your surgeon about the
steps that will be taken to protect you from any infections while you are in the hospital.
Ask if it's safe for you to have your procedure, or if it would be better to perform
the surgery later or in an outpatient setting.
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
Speak up about your care and whenever you have questions or concerns.
Ask a family member or friend to be your advocate to help monitor your care. This
is important if you’re really sick or heavily medicated or sedated.
When you are given medicines, have the nurse show you which medicines are being given
and explain why they are being used.
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.
Take part in and learn about all decisions regarding your treatment. Be especially
careful when reading informed consent forms. Have all of your questions answered before
you sign anything. You and your healthcare provider should agree on exactly what will
be done during each step of your care.