Monday, September 14, 2009

Patient Beware

Consumer Reports National Research Center recently conducted a side by side survey of hospital conditions from two very different perspectives: the nurses and the patients. The findings showed that patients consistently scored the hospitals better than the nurses, and therefore, suggested that patients need to become more vigilant and aware of their own care in hospitals. The article encouraged consumers to do their homework. Check your health plan for its rules on hospitalization before you need it. Ask about the nurse/patient ratios. Make transistions smooth by bringing a list of your medications with you to the hospital, and keep your regular doctor in the loop. At the time of discharge, make sure you understand all the details of moving from hospital to home, and talk to the hospital's patient advocate if you are not satisfied or need help. Insist on a medication reconciliation between home and hospital drugs. It is also recommended that you see your primary care physician within a week of discharge, and have him/her review copies of your hospital records. While we still have some of the best doctors and nurses in the world, these are good steps to take to ensure your hospital stay is as pleasant as possible.

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