When you stay at the hospital, you expect others to take proper precautions to protect your health and safety. However, research from Johns Hopkins indicates that over 250,000 people die every year because of medical errors.
During your next hospital stay, you are at risk for contracting an infection that could be emotionally, financially and medically devastating. There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of harm while receiving care in a hospital setting.
1. Ask about safety protocols
Ask your doctor and the hospital staff what they will do to keep you and anyone who visits you in the hospital safe. If you are going to have surgery, ask your surgeon what steps he or she will take to prevent bacterial infections and other errors. You should also ask what you can do beforehand to reduce risk.
2. Make handwashing a priority
Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer when you stay in the hospital. Ask anyone who enters your room, including hospital staff and visitors, to wash their hands, especially before they provide you with care.
3. Inform your doctor
Upon admittance to the hospital, let your physician know if you recently stayed at another medical facility. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you recently had an infection or received medical care at a location outside of the U.S.
4. Allow others to clean your room
Even if it feels inconvenient, let the janitorial staff clean your room during your hospital stay. By letting others clean your room, this can minimize your risk of contracting an infection.
Above all, remain vigilant about your safety and health when you stay in the hospital, no matter if you are only there overnight or for several days. If something seems off or a medical professional does not provide adequate care, let someone know as soon as you can.