Speak up if you have a question or do not understand something.
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- Do not be afraid to talk to your doctor, nurse or therapist about your medicine, your therapy or your treatment. These people are here to help you; you will not get in trouble for asking questions. You have a right to know!
- Do not be afraid to gently remind any caregiver to wash his or her hands before caring for you.
Pay attention to the care you are receiving.
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- Tell a caregiver right away if you think you have been confused with another patient.
- Make sure that the caregiver checks your I.D. band before giving you medications or treatments.
- A caregiver should knock and then tell you his or her name when he or she comes into your room. The caregiver's I.D. badge should be easy to see.
Educate yourself about your medical condition (diagnosis).
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- Get as much information as you can about your condition. Use the NRH Patient Education Center on the ground floor of the hospital and ask your caregivers for any written information they may have.
- Take notes in the patient guidebook you will receive at admission; write down important things that your caregivers tell you about your condition.
Ask a family member or friend to be your advocate.
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- An advocate is a person who speaks up for you.
- When you come to a hospital, you have many things on your mind and you may even be nervous, afraid, or in pain. Your advocate is there for you, asking questions that you might not think of during those times.
- Your advocate will also be there for you when you go home. Make sure you help this person to understand the types of care you will need at home.
Know what medications you take, the dosage as well as why and when you take them.
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- Ask your caregiver how the medication works to help you
- Ask your doctor if the medication can cause side effects-things that make you feel bad in any way.
- Make sure your doctors and nurses know if you have any allergies. Medications are made from many things, and your doctor will know if a medication is safe for you to take.
- Be sure to tell your doctor about anything you may be taking like vitamins, herbal or diet pills, and over-the-counter medications (example, for things like colds or arthritis pain). These things can cause problems when taken with prescription drugs, so your doctor needs to know about them.
Understand all documents you sign.
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- Make sure you read and understand all forms before you sign them. Your caregivers will be happy to answer questions if you do not understand.
- We respect that informed consent-meaning that you have been told about a procedure and given the right to say yes or no to it-is a federal law.
Participate in all decisions about your care and treatment.
- Remember, you are the most important part of your health care team!
- You and your doctors should agree on what will be done during each step of your care. If you are confused, do not be afraid to ask questions.
- The types of questions you must ask: Why is this test needed? What were the results of the tests? What should I do now? What should I not do?
- Never be afraid to meet with another doctor-to get a second opinion-if you are not sure about your condition or what might be the best treatment for it.