Going to the Hospital? Don’t Forget Your Checklist


If you are planning to have surgery soon, or otherwise find yourself in the hospital, you should make a point to be actively involved in your care. Medical errors continue to be a major problem in U.S. hospitals. These include medication errors, wrong-site surgeries and hospital negligence leading to infections and delayed diagnosis. One way to help ensure your safety is to keep your own checklist of things to prepare for and watch.

Below are some suggestions based on a book about patient checklists written by Elizabeth Bailey:

  • Learn the names of all your health care providers: This includes surgeons, doctors, nurses and aides. Knowing names helps you keep track of who is in charge of certain aspects of your care, as well as promote a collaborative environment between you and all your providers.
  • Keep a medication log: Medication mix-ups are some of the most common mistakes that can have serious and even deadly consequences. By keeping a log you help ensure you are given the proper medications at the right dosage and time. It will also give you a better idea of how to manage your medications once you are discharged.
  • Plan a visitor schedule: Make a schedule for friends and family to visit. Have another person with you at important times, like the night after surgery.
  • Bring some hand sanitizer: Having a large bottle of hand sanitizer next to your bed is a good way to remind yourself and everyone caring for you that their hands need to be cleaned. Hospital acquired infections remain prevalent and can be severe.

Dr. Peter Pronovost from Johns Hopkins explained that patients shouldn’t worry that having their own checklists may offend providers. This idea is to create a team environment where everyone is focused on patient safety.

Source: USA Today, Book offers 10 checklists for hospital patients, Kim Painter, 1 February 2012

Posted in Medical Malpractice | Tagged , , , , |