Patient Advocates At The Hospital: An Essential Checklist For Your Hospital Visit

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We have already discussed what to do before you get to the hospital in order to ensure that you and your loved ones will have a safe and comfortable stay at the hospital. Please go here for more information.

However, planning and preparation does not end as you enter the hospital door. Instead, it intensifies, here is where all your well-meant plans can crumble due to stress and unanticipated challenges. Not to worry though because we at CampaignZERO have your back, with easy to follow checklist and instructions.

  • Speak up
    • You have every right to clear, complete and accurate Information. After all, it’s all about you/your loved one (within reason). Some worry that they will “look stupid” asking questions.  Others worry that their questions will offend the doctors and nurses.  Not so!
      • If docs and nurses react badly to your questions, it’s OK to voice concerns to supervisors.
    • Ask:
      • What is the Plan of Care Today?
      • Goals?
    • Share:
      • Patient’s Goals
      • Patient’s Questions
      • Patient’s Concerns
  • Keep everything Clean
    • Wash Hands! Make Sure Everyone Else Does, Too
      • The #1 way to prevent infection is keeping hands clean. No one should touch a patient without washing their hands first. Surprisingly, doctors skip this step about half the time. It’s up to you to remind them, as hard as that may be.  
      • Infections like MRSA, VRE and C diff kill about 100,000 patients a year and over 700,000 become infected.
      • Your CampaignZERO checklists have more info and tips for preventing these deadly infections.
    • Antimicrobial Foam or Gel
      • In most patient rooms, the soap and foam dispensers are near the door.  Patients need to keep their own hands clean, too. They can’t be expected to get out of bed to do this! Put antimicrobial foam or gel in EASY reach where it will be easy to use, and share with anyone who comes near who has not washed their hands.
    • Wipes
      • You can help your loved one escape common hospital infections, like MRSA, C diff, VRE, CRKP, and more. These germs can attack anyone with deadly force – even in the very best hospitals. Superbugs are everywhere!
      • Ask for antibacterial surface wipes and hand cleansers for every room. Alcohol wipes kill staff bugs, and bleach wipes kill C. diff.
      • Wear disposable gloves and remember the “rule of ones” ….
        • One wipe
        • One side
        • One surface
        • One direction.
      • Your CampaignZERO checklists have more info, too.
  • Keep track of everything
    • Be Diligent About Every Detail of Every Medicine
      • Look up every medication given to your loved one in online drug directories. Know side effects and interactions to watch for.
      • Ensure that the Medication follow all these guidelines before it is administrated
        • Right Patient
        • Right Drug
        • Right Dose
        • Right Time
        • Right Route
      • Make sure that the nurse checks your loved one’s wristband and verifies his/her name out loud to confirm “right patient.”
      • However, never interrupt a nurse giving a medication unless you sense a mistake is being made.
    • Tests and Test Results
      • Test name
      • Who ordered?
      • Why? To find out….?
      • How will results be used?
      • When to be administered?
      • When will results be ready?
      • When will patient hear results?  By whom?
    • Safeguard Rest… but Speak Up for Alarms
      • Bring ear plugs & eye mask for your loved one to use.  
      • Manage visitors to permit rest, caution to be quiet (be considerate of other patients!)
      • Get a nurse when an alarm goes off on monitors or pumps.

Alarm fatigue is a very real problem. It refers to times when we tune out noises in order to focus on a task at hand.  On busy hospital units, nurses and docs do this, too. It takes 2 minutes for someone to die from choking – the alarms monitoring his oxygen and heart rates would have been ringing madly for 2 minutes, but no one responded.

  • Support Your Nurses
    • Ask: “What may I do to help?”
    • “May I bring you a cup of coffee?”
    • “These things are on my checklists, tell me what I may handle on my own so I can help.”
    • Keep the room very tidy, uncluttered.
  • Avoid Weekends
    • Try to schedule non-emergency surgeries on Tuesday or Wednesday so likely to be discharged by Friday.  
    • If a weekend stay is needed, consult with all docs about any potential problems to especially watch for.
    • Get all doctors’ contact info.
    • Arrange 24/7 family/friend coverage at hospital

Values Based Patient Advocates is located at 5180 Parkstone Dr. # 160, Chantilly, VA 20151 and Our Patient Advocate Office is ever just an email or phone call away: 703-222-1300


Looking for more info? Have you downloaded our best practices health guide yet? Here’s what you get:

  • What you need to bring with you when heading to the hospital
  • A checklist of the most important health documents you need on hand
  • A Healthcare Power of Attorney Form
  • Immunizations Checklist
  • Health Journal
  • Existing Conditions Health Disclosure (I.C.E.)

Download it here ⇒

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