How to prevent medical errors when advocating for a loved one
We all know errors can occur anywhere in the healthcare system, whether it’s in a hospital, nursing home, or even at home, and of course, we want to prevent them from happening to our loved ones. How can we be sure to prevent these errors from happening in the first place? How can we advocate for our loved ones to reduce the chance that those errors happen?
The most important thing is to be actively involved with your loved one’s healthcare, including their healthcare team. Take part in discussions about your loved one’s care. Ensure your loved one’s doctors know about all medications your loved one is taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements. Make sure their doctor knows about any allergic reactions your loved one may have had to medicines, and make sure you can read the prescriptions the doctor writes; If you can’t read it, there’s a chance the pharmacist won’t be able to either. Be sure to ask questions from the doctor and/or pharmacist, so you have a good understanding about your loved one’s medication and treatment.
Make sure to choose a hospital that has extensive experience in the procedure or surgery your loved one needs. Patients tend to have better results when they are treated in hospitals where the staff is experienced with their particular condition. Ask about their treatment plan when they are discharged home, to ensure you have a good understanding of what your loved one will need once back at home.
One very important thing, that we may not always consider, is speaking up for your loved one, especially if he or she can’t. Also make sure to find out why a test or treatment is needed and how it can help, in order to avoid unnecessary treatment. You may want to study up on your loved one’s condition and treatment in addition to asking the doctor, while ensuring the treatment is based on the latest medical studies and evidence. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.
Caring for a loved one can be difficult, and it is important to have a good understanding of your loved one’s health, treatment and procedures. The more you know, the more you can help prevent any medical mistakes that could be harmful to your loved one’s health and well-being.
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