Raritan Bay Medical Center: You Should Be Your Best Patient Advocate

Source GMN Health
During a stay at a hospital, you’ll come in contact with many clinicians and specialists, nurses and physicians. But even with all these health care professionals taking care of you, remember, you and your loved ones are the center of your health care team. If you have questions or concerns, or if something just doesn’t “feel right,” speak up! You have the right to ask and get a response from your doctor or nurse.
Designating a support person to talk with hospital staff about your health care wishes is also very important — for example, what language do you prefer to speak, do you need glasses, hearing aids or other devicses to better communicate, do you have any cultural, religious or ethnic-based special needs?
Educate Yourself. Research your medical conditions, tests and treatment options.

Know Your Meds.
Understand what your medicines treat, why you need them, any counter indications, and how to take them for the best results.
Check Before You Go. Make an informed decision when selecting additional health care services. Choose only accredited providers who meet patient quality and safety standards.
Participate In Your Care. Make sure you know what is happening every step of the way, from admission through discharge.

It’s Ok To Check IDs.
Check the IDs of everyone who comes into your room so you know the name and job of the person caring for you.
Speak Up If Hospital Staff Doesn’t Check Your ID. Any time hospital staff enters your room to give you medications, transport you, or perform procedures or treatments, state your name and birth date.
In general, it’s important to pay attention to the details to help ensure you receive the best care. This is particularly true with medications. Know what time you normally get your medicine and tell your nurse if you don’t get it, and always double-check that you are getting the correct medicines. Comprehension of the information you are provided is also vitally important. Be sure to read all medical forms before signing and ask for explanation if needed.
If possible, write down key facts your doctor tells you, ask for definitions of medical terms you don’t understand or request visual aids (drawings or illustrations) to help you better understand your condition, and if your treatment involves medical equipment, practice using the equipment with your nurse or health care professional before you leave the hospital.
Follow these steps to help you get the best care from your hospital stay. You’ll be glad you did!

By Joan Harewood, D.N.P., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C., Senior VP of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer of Raritan Bay Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health family. For more information, visit RBMC.org and QualityCheck.org.

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