Last week on our Chicago medical malpractice law blog, we began discussing how one woman has made it her goal to provide nursing home and hospital patients and their families with checklists that they can use to avoid becoming victims of medical malpractice and nursing home neglect.
Many injuries and illnesses that are suffered by patients while they are receiving medical care in nursing homes and hospitals can be prevented. But doctors and nurses make mistakes and may overlook basic tasks that they should be performing in order to keep patients as safe and healthy as possible.
So what should nursing home residents and hospital patients be adding to their checklists to make sure they are receiving the medical care that they need?
There are numerous items that patients and families should include on patient-care checklists. However, some very basic tasks to put on checklists include:
- Making sure workers wash their hands before treating patients
- Making sure workers have sterilized medical equipment
- Taking notes when speaking with doctors and nurses about one’s health and treatment
- Keeping a list of what medications a patient is taking and when medications are administered
- Communicating any new or pertinent information to nurses and doctors during shift changes or patient hand-offs
- Making sure patients have proper identification bracelets on them if they have a high risk of falling or are allergic to medications or foods
There are also checklists patients and families should use that list specific tasks hospital and nursing home workers should be doing based on patients’ particular health problems. For example, patients who suffer from congestive heart failure need to make sure that they are weighed every day by medical staff. Gaining two pounds within a day could indicate a serious problem.
Patients who are not very mobile should know that their hospital beds should be propped at a 30-degree angle in order to avoid getting pneumonia while recovering in a hospital or nursing home. Patients who are not very mobile should also know that eating high-protein snacks throughout the day may help to prevent bed sores.
Source: ProPublica, “A Patient’s Guide: How To Stay Safe In A Hospital,” Feb. 7, 2013
- Our firm provides counsel to nursing home residents, hospital patients and families who have been harmed by nursing home abuse and neglect. To learn more about protecting medical negligence victims’ rights, please visit our Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect lawyerspage.