According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about a million people contract a hospital infection each year. A Consumer Reports survey provides clues to why those rates are so high.
In 2008, Consumer Reports surveyed 731 nurses, and this year, sampled more than 13,500 of its readers, who were polled about recent hospital experiences involving them or a loved one. The findings were surprising.
- 28 percent of nurses reported problems with cleanliness, while only 4 percent of patients reported so.
- 26 percent of nurses saw hospital staff fail to wash their hands before approaching a patient, compared to 5 percent of patients.
- 38 percent of nurses reported problems in coordinating patient care, compared to 13 percent of patients.
Obviously, how you view a hospital experience is very different, depending on whether you’re a patient or a nurse. Patients also seem to be less likely to demand higher cleanliness standards from hospital staff.
The nurses in the survey had a number of tips for patients to make their hospital stay safer.
- Choose your hospital carefully. Do your homework, and look at hospital records and ratings before you make a choice. For complicated treatments like brain surgery, look for a specialized hospital and doctors who have lots of experience in such cases
- Have all your records handy and easy to refer by medical care professionals. List down the current medications you are taking and the dosage.Include the contact information for your primary care doctor to make your hospital admission process easier.
- If your hospital isn’t coordinating care properly, ask for a social worker, patient advocate or case manager. It is your right to ask for such help.
- Don’t assume that cleanliness standards are being followed. Ask nurses to wash their hands in front of you before they attend to you.
- Make sure that you properly understand your discharge instructions. Too often, patients fail to receive proper instructions, leading to drug interactions and other issues that can lead you back to hospital.
The Georgia medical malpractice attorneys at the Katz law Firm represent injured victims in DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Cobb Counties, and across Georgia.