Questions you should ask before being admitted to the hospital

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Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 5:54 pm | Updated: 8:52 pm, Tue Aug 27, 2013.

Going into the hospital is scary, we put our lives in the hands of medical professionals, but, you may have more control over a positive outcome if you ask the right questions.

The numbers are high, about one in 20 hospitalized patients will develop an infection but there is hope.

INFECTIONS

Here's what you can do.

Ask if the hospital uses a checklist

Insist that all staff and visitors wash their hands before touching you.

Before surgery ask whether you're prone to infection because of a chronic disease, such as diabetes.

Smoking increases infection risk, so take steps to kick the habit.

Ask whether shaving your surgical site is necessary

Heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors increase the risk of intestinal infections and pneumonia.

Make sure you understand instructions for caring for your wound.

RE-ADMISSION

Being readmitted to the hospital soon after going home can be a sign that something went wrong.

Here's what you can do.

See a discharge planner well in advance of your departure.

Get results of tests done while in the hospital

See your primary-care doctor within 10 days of going home.

MISCOMMUNICATION

Clear communication in the hospital is hard to come by

Here's what you can do to better understand about new medications and discharge plans.

Take notes during your discharge planning

Keep a list of all your prescription and over-the-counter medications

If you don't understand why you are taking certain drugs, or how to take them, ask again.

Learn about the potential side effects and what should you do if you have one.

RADIATION OVER EXPOSURE

Radiation from CT scans are equivalent to between 100 and 500 chest X-RAYS

If you're scheduled to get two CT scans of your chest or abdomen, ask whether both are necessary

You may also ask if a CT is necessary at al, or if there's an alternative test that doesn't emit radiation.

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