Tips To Help You Prevent Infections and Costly Hospital Bills

Rose Goldberg Personal Finance

Hospital infections are the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. Such careless mistakes can cause you health and financial problems down the road.

Infection rates have gone down over the years with new technology. For instance, there have been numerous breakthroughs in robotics and germ-sanitation procedures. These scientific breakthroughs have saved many lives, and improved the quality of care seniors deserve.

Hospitals are run by humans, and we sometimes make mistakes. How can you keep you and your family safe from such careless mistakes made by a hospital?

Finance Adviser has 12 tips to help you avoid infections and costly hospital bills:

1. Take a friend or family member with you

It helps to have someone with you to be your advocate. Your advocate can ask questions and make sure you are getting good care. Sometimes we have difficulty asking for respect when we are under the hospital’s care. Bring a family member or friend with you.

2. Question the need for heartburn medications

Heartburn medications increase your risk for intestinal infections and pneumonia. You may already be prescribed Prevacid or Prilosec. Consider stopping these drugs before your surgery. Question your doctor if you need these drugs after your surgery.

3. Check reviews of your hospital

Do some research on your hospital before getting a surgery. Consumer Reportshas a lot of great reviews of the nation’s hospitals. Talk with friends, church members and anyone else that has experience going to that hospital. Patient safety should be your first concern.

4. Watch for diarrhea

Tell your doctor is you have 3 loose stools within 24 hours.

5. Ask about antibiotics

You should get an antibiotic 60 minutes before an operation. People report some hospitals get the dosage and timing wrong. Remember the 60 minute rule.

6. Ask Whether You Still Need IVs and Catheters

Ask every day whether you need any tubes still hooked up to your body. Your risk of infections goes up every day that they stay in you.

7. Quit smoking, even temporarily

Stopping smoking will help you fight infection. The longer you can quit beforehand, the better. Talk with a local quit plan if you are having difficulty stopping.

8. Take a good shower the night before

Talk with your doctor before your surgery. She may be able to recommend special soaps or anti-bacterial wipes.

9. Keep your hospital room clean

Cleanliness is important to reduce infections. You are allowed to bring bleach wipes for doorknobs, bed rails and phones. You are also allowed to ask staff to clean your room.

10. Write everything down

It really helps to write down everything you are being prescribed. Write down what doctors have checked you for. Having a friend or family to do this is helpful.

11. Make sure everyone washes their hands.

Don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry, but I didn’t see you wash your hands. Would you mind doing it again?” Alcohol based sanitizer is not enough.

12. Delay your surgery if you are sick

Postpone your surgery date if you have a current infection. You don’t want to make a bad situation worse. Your hospital’s staff should be happy to help you reschedule.

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