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5 Tips to Keep You Safe During Hospitalization

Judie Rappaport
January 1, 2015

Dear Judie:

Mom is putting off surgery because her friend’s husband got an infection in the hospital.  I told her hospitals are safer than ever, but she doesn’t believe me. How can I calm her fears?

-Jeannie, Stuart


Dear Judie;

After his hip replacement, dad spent six months shuttling from hospital to nursing home to rehab until he finally came home. The hospital acknowledged his post-surgery infection by saying, “sorry, but it happens.”  What gives?

-Fred, Vero


Dear Judie:

Mom died in the hospital (Michigan) and now dad refuses to go in for treatment. He says he’d rather die in his own bed.  I don’t know where to turn.

- Dee, Ft. Pierce      


Dear Readers:

The majority of hospital staff are dedicated professionals who provide excellent care for their patients and work hard to avoid errors.  However, modern medicine is so complex that many healthcare professionals recommend having an advocate with you whenever possible. Although multi-millions of patients receive superior care in hospitals every day, a recent study estimated that approximately 195,000 people died annually in 2000, 2001, and 20002 from potentially preventable medical errors.  Five basic safety tips will go a long way to help keep you safer.

  1. Expertise counts: look for surgeons and hospitals that have a successful track record for your procedure.

  2. Ask your advocate to keep a list of the medications prescribed for you and double check medications you receive against the list.

  3. Ask the staff entering your room to wash their hands (regardless of gloves) before treating you and to sanitize their stethoscopes (which can pick up germs from each patient).  

  4. Ask visitors to wash their hands; be alert to the cleanliness of items in your room like the TV remote.  Ask for a replacement for any item that has fallen on the floor.  

  5. Report discrepancies between the treatments you were told to expect and the treatment offered you to your nurse or the hospital’s patient advocate. Most professionals welcome your involvement; remember, their only goal is to help you get well as soon as possible.



Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©



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