Patient Safety: What You Can Do to Be a Safe Patient
You go to the hospital to get well, right? Of course, but did you know that patients can get infections in the hospital while they are being treated for something else?
Imagine a scenario like the following:
- Your mother starts having chest pain.
- Your son breaks his ankle during football practice.
- Your spouse is in a car accident.
You rush to the hospital.
Thankfully, you are told that your loved one is going to recover, but will spend some time in the hospital. However, time in the hospital can also put patients at risk for a healthcare-associated infection (HAI), such as a blood, surgical site, or urinary tract infection.
Every day, patients get infections in healthcare facilities while they are being treated for something else. These infections can have devastating emotional, financial, and medical effects. Worst of all, they can be deadly.
Healthcare procedures can leave you vulnerable to germs that cause HAIs. These germs can be spread in healthcare settings from patient to patient on unclean hands of healthcare personnel or through the improper use or reuse of equipment.
These infections are not limited to hospitals. For example, in the past 10 years alone, there have been more than 30 outbreaks of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in non-hospital healthcare settings such as outpatient clinics, dialysis centers, and long-term care facilities.
What can you do as a patient or loved one of a patient?
- Page last reviewed: March 26, 2014
- Page last updated: March 2, 2018
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