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Patient Safety Awareness

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Patient Safety Awareness

Patient safety is a public health issue. One in 10 patients develops a health care acquired condition during hospitalization. Medical error causes the death of 44,000 to 98,000 hospital patients a year.

Work is being done at the federal, state and local levels to address these issues but it takes all of us within the care continuum to stand united. According to United for Patients Safety “As a result of the federal Partnership for Patients initiative, there was a 1.3 million estimated reduction in hospital-acquired conditions from 2011-2013.”

Once you leave the hospital, there are steps to ensure your safety.

Medicine for Home

When you get ready to leave the hospital, your doctor may order medicine for you to take at home. There are a few things you can do before you go home from the hospital to make things easier:

- Make sure to tell your doctor about the medicine (self-prescribed or prescribed by your doctor) you were taking when you came to the hospital. Having this information is helpful to make sure your new prescriptions do not have adverse reactions to your current prescriptions.

- Have available the name and telephone number of your pharmacy.

- Check if your pharmacy offers home delivery services, or bubble wrapped daily prescriptions, also if the prescription is long term you may be able to save time and money by ordering them on-line.  

- Call your pharmacy to check on availability of the medicines you will be taking when you get home.

- Depending on the type of medicine you bring home, you may need to purchase some of your medicines at the hospital outpatient pharmacy until your regular pharmacy can obtain your medicine.

- Plan how you will pay for your medicine.

- Tell your doctor if you are unable to obtain the medicine needed for going home.

Follow-Up Appointments

It is important to make sure either yourself or your family is an advocate for you during your stay at the hospital, there will be a lot of people coming to meet with you and give you instructions for when you leave the hospital.

- Make sure you write down the name and office telephone numbers of the doctors with whom you need to schedule appointments after you go home.

- Know the reason for each appointment and what information you will need to bring with you.

- Schedule an appointment to see your primary care physician after you are home.

- Communicate your discharge instructions to your primary care physician and obtain referrals as necessary.

- Know what other types of care you will need, such as physical or occupational therapy, or cardiac rehabilitation. Find out whether you need to call for an appointment or whether the appointment has already been scheduled for you.

- If you are unsure of anything, make sure you ask for clarification. It is incredibly important that you understand what has happened to you during your stay and the expectations of your recovery once you are home and how you can help and hurt your recovery.

Home Health Services

Your doctor may order a nurse or therapist to visit you at home and/or medical equipment such as oxygen and wheelchairs.

Choosing a home health care company

- Ask your doctor, family or friends for home healthcare company recommendations. Let your nurse know if you need help in choosing a home health care company.

- Check your insurance company’s preferred provider list for home healthcare companies.

- Contact the home health care company to determine if they can provide the service your doctor ordered and can send a nurse or therapist to your home when you are discharged.

Preparing for home health care services before you leave the hospital

- Give the home health care company your telephone number and the address where you will be staying after you leave the hospital.

- Know what home nursing services and/or medical equipment your doctor ordered.

- Know when the first home nursing visit is scheduled to begin.

- Confirm the time of delivery and delivery address of medical equipment (your hospital room or your home).

- Confirm your portable oxygen tank is full before you leave the hospital if applicable.

- Make sure your take-home supplies will last until the first home nursing visit.

- Obtain the name, telephone number, and name of a contact person at the home nursing company.

When you arrive home

Call the home health care agency to let them know you have arrived at your home.

Taking Care of Yourself When You Get Home

You may need help caring for yourself when you go home from the hospital, particularly with bathing, cooking, cleaning, and laundry, grocery shopping and traveling back and forth to the doctor’s office. Typically, you may be weaker than usual and tire more easily when you first come home from the hospital. If family and friends are not available, or your recover is long-term, you can have an In-Home Care company come and take care of your needs during your recovery.

Home Environment

- Know that if you have stairs to enter into your home you will need help getting up and down those stairs for a while. This is one of those times when a caregiver comes in handy; you do not want to have to bother your neighbors or family constantly.

- Plan to make your bedroom on a floor with a bathroom if possible. Sometimes this means having to make temporary changes to your home. A sitting room or dining room may need to be converted into a bedroom during recovery.

- Use night-lights in strategic areas to prevent falls at night.

- Place the telephone and emergency telephone numbers near you.

- Keep hallways, stairways and pathways clear of clutter.

- Wear snugly-fitting, non-slip, low heeled shoes or slippers.

Everyday activities

- Clarify bathing instructions with your doctor (sponge bath, shower, tub bath), having someone there to help you with bathing, especially at first is important.

- Clarify activity instructions with your doctor (cooking, cleaning, driving).

- Ask your doctor if there are specific foods you should eat or avoid eating, if there are, make sure you write them down.

- Schedule quiet time for yourself. There will be friends and family wanting to stop by and see how you are doing, but make sure you give yourself time to rest.

 Arriving Home

Coming home is a day full of activity and joy. You and your family have been preparing for this day, having a caregiver there as soon as you get home is also helpful so you do not have to feel overwhelmed by all of the activities that need to be done. Reacquaint yourself with your home environment by reviewing the helpful hints mentioned above and your discharge instructions.

Enjoy your homecoming.


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