Andera Colon* – When you stay in a nursing home, you hope to live a good life and receive good care from the nursing staff. However, not all staff may be as dedicated to looking after your well-being as you’d like them to be. Carelessness and negligence on their part can lead to several blunders and medical errors, the price of which you may end up paying.
While you can always take legal recourse to bring them to book, it is best to adhere to the age-old and time-tested adage, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’
To steer clear of medical errors in a nursing home altogether, you will be better off taking the following precautionary measures:
- Get Involved in Your Care Plan
- Be There for Yourself
Partake in every step of your care instead of doing nothing and hoping for the best. You need to know what’s going on with you. Take active interest in the healthcare decisions made for you. People who get involved tend to receive better care. It is, therefore, prudent to take control of your medical woes.
- Ask Questions
A lot of people refrain from asking pertinent question because they think that they’ll be dismissed as irrelevant or unnecessary. However, this is about your health and you have the right to know every detail about your care. Do not be afraid to ask. You never know, your questions may help avert errors, complications and other related issues.
- Familiarize Yourself with Your Caregivers
Make it a point to get to know your care-providers. If you have a personal physician and want him/her involved in your healthcare, go ahead and do so. This way you can be sure that you’re given the right kind of medical care. Also, you will feel much better about associating with someone you know rather than with complete strangers. Allow the nursing home staff to ask you questions pertaining to your medical history. They more they know about your health, the better care they can provide.
- Divulge the Details
No detail is too small or trivial when it comes to medical care. The smallest headache, surgical procedures undergone by you, or medication you’re taking can have major implications on the outcome of the care you get at the nursing home. In order to avert potentially dangerous complications, ensure that your caregivers have the minutest information about your health.
- Know about Your Condition
Be sure to educate yourself about your condition and treatments. If you develop a new condition at the nursing home, do take the time to learn about it. Ask your caregiver, physician, or simply look it up online. This will go a long way in helping you know about the treatment options available, and the complications and side effects that you may encounter to avoid unpleasant surprises later.
- Mind the Medical Matters
- Reveal All Medications You Take
Whether you’re taking prescription medicines, OTC products, herbal supplements, or vitamins, you must inform your caregivers/doctors about them. For extra precaution, take your medicines along to your caregiver’s office occasionally to minimize the risk of future problems and mix-ups.
- Discuss Your Allergies
It is extremely critical that your caregivers know about any allergy you may have. While you may not be aware of your drug allergies, you can surely avoid health crisis by disclosing all allergies that you know of before undergoing any treatment. This will deter your caregivers from prescribing medicines that you may have an adverse reaction to.
- Know the Right Dosage
Before you take any medicine, make sure to double check with your doctor and the pharmacy about the dosage of your medications. Pass on this information to your caregivers as well. One area that is quite susceptible to medical errors is the dosage level. It is best to be safe than sorry and be extra sure about how much medicine you really need.
- Give Extra Consideration to OTC Medicines
Although your medications will be all right when you pick them up over the counter, you will always be better off reconfirming the medicines you buy from the pharmacy. Verify the name of the drugs, the prescribed dosage, and the expiry dates and only then purchase them. If your medicines looks different than usual, ask the pharmacist for the reason. Inform about this to your caregiver at the nursing home as well to ensure that they know what you need.
- Know the Side Effects
While some medicines can cure one symptom, they can give rise to a number of other problems as side effects. This is why it is vital to be aware of the all the after effects of any new medicine before you consume it. Alert your care givers immediately if you experience severe reactions. Click here to know more about some of the serious side effects of taking the wrong medicine.
- Buy Medicines from the Same Pharmacy
As far as possible, stick to the same pharmacy to buy all your medicines. Let your caregivers know about this pharmacy as well. Most modern pharmacies have computer systems that record previous drug interactions before you even pick up your prescription. You can take advantage of such a system by buying your medicines from the same pharmacy each time.
- Take Adequate Precautions
- Keep Germs Away
You owe it to yourself to ensure that the nursing home staff takes adequate precautions before, during and after tending to you. Nursing home attendants look after several people at a time. This means interacting with and coming in close contact with other people too. It is, therefore, important that they keep their hands clean and germ-free. Insist to your caregiver that he/she washes his/her hands before helping you with your medicines. This may make you feel awkward initially, but it will help you keep away from bacteria.
- Ask for Help
Whenever needed, ask for help from family or friends. Do not hesitate in asking them to be there for you. Sometimes, certain health conditions may make it difficult for you to speak to your caregivers or ask questions for yourself. During such times, it will be better to have a loved one around to look out for you and make the inquiries that you cannot.
One of the most effective ways of saving yourself from becoming a victim of medical errors in a nursing home is by actively participating in looking after your best interests. This means proactively involving yourself in every decision related to your well-being and health care needs. Always be in the know of things, speak to your doctors and caregivers, and take the help of your near and dear ones to ensure that you truly get what you want from your stay at the nursing home.
Andera Colon is a freelance writer and blogger from Chicago, IL who possess a great skills of writing & blogging for the variety of topics and currently, she is focusing on Law related topics. When she is not writing, she enjoys traveling with her friends and taking long walks on the beach.