Five Steps to Safer Health Care
1. Ask questions if you have doubts or concerns.
Ask questions and make sure you understand the answers. Choose
a doctor you feel comfortable talking to. Take a relative or friend
with you to help you ask questions and understand the answers.
2. Keep and bring a list of ALL the medicines you take.
Give your doctor and pharmacist a list of all the medicines that
you take, including non-prescription medicines. Tell them about
any drug allergies you have. Ask about side effects and what to
avoid while taking the medicine. Read the label when you get your
medicine, including all warnings. Make sure your medicine is what
the doctor ordered and know how to use it. Ask the pharmacist
about your medicine if it looks different than you expected.
3. Get the results of any test of procedure. Ask when
and how you will get the results of tests or procedures. Don't
assume the results are fine if you do not get them when expected,
be it in person, by phone, or by mail. Call your doctor and ask
for your results. Ask what the results mean for your care.
4. Talk to your doctor about which hospital is best for your
health needs. Ask your doctor about which hospital has the
best care and results for your condition if you have more than
one hospital to choose from. Be sure you understand the instructions
you get about follow-up care when you leave the hospital.
5. Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery.
Make sure you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree on exactly
what will be done during the operation. Ask your doctor, "Who
will manage my care when I am in the hospital?" Ask your surgeon:
- Exactly what will you be doing?
- About how long will it take?
- What will happen after the surgery?
- How can I expect to feel during recovery?
Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses about any allergies,
bad reaction to anesthesia, and any medications you are taking.