CBN.com Every patient wants a speedy recovery. But that recovery can be delayed or even turn deadly if patients don’t carefully monitor their health care or protect themselves from bacteria that cause infections.
For starters, Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic recommends that every patient find an advocate to oversee their care.
He says, “An advocate is someone who can argue for you, be persuasive, take notes, and make sure you are getting the right medicines. It’s really someone committed to your well being.”
Roizen suggests that your advocate come with you when you meet with your doctor especially if you can’t take care of yourself after the operation.
An advocate can also help you assess the options for pain management, and they can assist with other procedures recommended by your doctor.
Finally, a patient advocate should track and assist with your medications – especially while you’re still in the hospital.
“Have your advocate go through, ‘Why are you taking this? What does it do with the current medicine I’m on? Is there an interaction with the current medicine? Should I not take one of those medications I’ve already taken?’
“Now, another good thing is an armband. In many hospitals, every drug is barcode labeled, so the barcode matches this bar code and the one on the drug. If they’re not a fit, we don’t give it to them.”
Dr. Roizen says even with barcode checks, a smart patient should still ask questions to make sure they’re getting the right drugs.
“The nurse who’s giving him the drug should say, ‘What are the last four digits of your social security number? Or what is your birthday?’ ‘Cause it’s two identifiers that now are required. If someone isn’t asking you two identifiers, don’t take the drug.”
Is it common for patients to contract deadly infections while recovering in the hospital? Dr. Roizen says yes. “It’s common enough to kill at least 40,000 and maybe 90,000 hospital patients a year.”
Infections come from contact with visitors, hospital staff and even objects in the hospital especially those in your room.
“Two of the dirtiest things in the hospital room aren’t the handle on the throne or the doorknob, but the remote control and your cell phone,” Dr. Roizen says. “Cover it up with a glove. Then you can use the remote control and see through it. You can feel the buttons too. You can see through it if you use clear gloves.”
In his book, The Smart Patient, Dr. Roizen refers to visitors as “cargo vessels laden with bacteria.”
“Best gift isn’t to bring someone flowers, but is a hand sanitizer,” says Dr. Roizen. “I like a sign up here that says, ‘Thank you for washing your hands.’ So it tells everyone who comes in, before they shake your hands, to wash them. That goes for every hospital personnel. One of the dirtiest things, believe it or not, is often the stethoscope. So, you ask the physicians. One of the keen ways you can do it, if you are a clever patient, is say, ‘I’m curious. I’m taking a survey. Did you wash your stethoscope with alcohol or with water?’ That gives them the suggestion to wash it.”
So how much will an infection hinder a patient’s hospital recovery? Maybe just as important, how much is it going to cost?
“Each infection is an extra nine days, $28,000, and a heck of a lot of illness. So if you’re the friend, wash yourself. Don’t come to the hospital when you’ve got the flu. Call them.”
So remember, always have a patient advocate, make sure you’re getting the right medications and protect yourself from infections.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.