Prevent Medical Errors
Prevent Errors in the Hospital
Many Reference medical errors Opens New Window happen in the hospital. For example, you may receive the wrong meal or medicine. Here are some things you can ask to avoid errors:
- Have you washed your hands? It may sound like an odd thing to ask, but doing so can help prevent infections. One study found that when people asked hospital workers about washing their hands, the workers did so more consistently.Reference 1
- Am I the right person? Make sure hospital workers check your wristband or ask your name before accepting something. You want your own food, medicine, treatment, and bill—not someone else's.
- How long do I need this? Is it safe? Ask about each step of your care. For example, if you have a Reference urinary catheter Opens New Window, ask about it. The longer you have a catheter, the more likely it is you'll get an infection.Reference 1
- What do I do when I go home? Before you leave the hospital, ask your doctor to explain and write down your treatment plan. Ask about your medicines, what you can or can't do, and when you can return to work, school, or other activities. If you're given an instruction sheet, read it and be sure you know what it means.
Before going to a hospital for a surgery or procedure, ask how often the procedure is done. Research shows that you likely will have better results when you go to a hospital that has a lot of experience with a health problem or surgery.Reference 1