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The NSPA Blog

Patient Safety

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Posted on September 12th, 2016 by Teri Dreher, under Tips & Resources

People go to the hospital because they need surgery, have an accident or a serious illness. The problem is did you know you can get a serious infection in the hospital while you are being treated for something else?
Most families are grateful their loved one can be saved from a heart attack, have surgery for a broken ankle or be successfully treated for their illness.However, the hospital can also put patients at risk for healthcare-associated infections such as a blood, surgical site or urinary tract infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that every day patients get infections, which can have devastating emotional, financial and medical effects. More importantly, they can be deadly. Patients get these germs that can spread from patient to patient because of unclean hands of healthcare personnel or through improper use or reuse of equipment.
Here is what you can do as a patient or a loved one of a patient:
1. Speak up
Ask each day if the catheter is necessary. There are all types of urinary infections that are serious and may cause your loved one to be put on strong antibiotics.
2. Keep your hands clean and watch to see if hospital personnel have clean hands.
3. Learn about the antibiotics that are prescribed and talk with the physician to find out if it’s really necessary.
4. Know the signs and symptoms of infection such as MRSA, which can cause pain, redness or drainage.
5. Watch for deadly diarrhea. Check with the medical staff on what can be done to stop it.
6. Do not wait till you have to go to the hospital. Protect yourself and get vaccinated against the flu and other infections.

These infections are not only in hospitals. For the past decade, there have been numerous outbreaks of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in non-hospital healthcare settings such as outpatient clinics, dialysis centers and long-term care facilities.
As a patient or the loved one of a patient, it is in your best interest to be aware of health dangers. If you stay alert, you can prevent many of these problems.

With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

For a no-cost 30 minute initial consultation, please call 847-612-6684 or click here to fill out our online callback request form.