No one likes to go to the hospital, especially if they can expect a long stay. After all, it can be difficult to put your safety and comfort into the hands of strangers. While we all hope that hospital workers will make the right decisions about our health, that isn’t always the case.
A recent study examined the actual performance of medical staff when it comes to care of patients in the hospital. In just one facility, workers made a surprising number of mistakes. It’s important to keep these facts and figures in mind whenever you need to have surgery or be admitted to the hospital for any other reason.
Out of 29 admission to two intensive care units at a single facility, researchers collected data on 20 of the patients. These patients ended up staying in 10 different wards, so the problems aren’t limited to just one area of the facility.
* Record keeping is poor in many hospitals; in one case, a patient was transferred with no documentation at all, potentially putting his or her life at risk.
* 10 percent of the documentation researchers could find did not contain any information about patient allergies.
* About a third of the documentation included no information about the patients’ usual pharmacy, which could make getting medication difficult.
* Almost 20 percent of the hospital forms failed to include details about patient medication changes. More than 200 treatments were prescribed, with 21 instances of documented medication changes and 75 instances where the changes were not listed.
* Patients receiving anti-clotting therapy got inconsistent treatment.
* Many forms failed to include information about the medication patients received, the size of their dosage, and their current counseling state. Medication bottles often indicated a different discharge date than the one on which the patient was actually discharged. In four cases, patients received the wrong medication or the wrong dosage.
These figures can make the prospect of a hospital stay even more frightening, but you can reduce your risk of problems. Make sure that you have someone you trust available to check up on your treatment, medication, records and other information while you’re in the hospital. This person can act as an advocate and make sure that everything is updated properly. Have this person help with your discharge, too. That way, you’ll be sure to get all the treatments and care that you need.