April 18, 2014

Some Ways to Become a Safe Patient

Many patients allow others to be in charge of their patient safety when in their own home, when at the doctor's office, and especially when in the hospital. This is not a good habit to follow and you, a person with diabetes, need to be conscious of your surroundings. Granted if you are taken to a hospital in an unconscious state, you will probably not be aware of what happens to you until after the operation or operations and you recover your awareness.

The following are good points by the CDC to help remind you how to be safe:

Speak up - Do not hesitate to ask questions. Ask your doctor about those worries you have and how to remind those around you about those worries. If you are in the hospital and are hooked up to devices for putting IV fluids in your hand or catheters to remove waste from your body, do not be afraid to ask how long they are necessary. Many catheters should be new each day unless surgically implanted or for IV use.

If you are going into the hospital, ask how they prevent infections and what they do to protect you after surgery to prevent infections. Hospital acquired infections are difficult to treat and can add to your hospital stay. 

Keep hands clean - Always make sure everyone washes their before touching you. You may irritate many doctors and nurses, but they are known for not washing their hands as they move from one patient to another. 

Become smart about antibiotics - Ask if a test will or has been done to be sure that the right antibiotic is prescribed. Often antibiotics are changed by doctors without tests. Each doctor has their favorite and when it does not work, they move to another antibiotic. Most insurance carriers are now insisting on tests to determine the most effective antibiotic.

Learn the signs and symptoms of infection - Many skin infections, such as MRSA, occur with redness, pain, or drainage at the IV catheter site, or surgery site. Often this happens with a fever and you should tell you doctor as soon as possible. If you happen to have MRSA or other hospital acquired infection, your stay will be increased.

Watch out deadly diarrhea, aka, C. difficile - Tell your doctor if you have three or more episodes of diarrhea in a 24-hour period, especially if you are taking an antibiotic. It is important that the diarrhea be brought under control quickly to prevent dehydration and death.

Protect yourself - Get yourself vaccinated against the flu and other infections to prevent complications. If you know there are flu patients near you or cases of MRSA, these vaccinations may save you from acquiring them. This is also important for insisting that doctors and nurses wash their hands.

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