Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SPEAK UP - It could save your life!

The Joint Commission, known mostly for accrediting our nation's hospitals, has patient brochures that provide a wide variety of information on health care interactions. The SPEAK UP program encourages patients to be more involved in the care process.

Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you still don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.

Pay attention to the care you get. Always make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicines by the right health care professionals. Don’t assume anything.

Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get, and your treatment plan.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).

Know what medicines you take and why you take them. Medicine errors are the most common health care mistakes.

Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has been carefully checked out. For example, The Joint Commission visits hospitals to see if they are meeting The Joint Commission’s quality standards.

Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

For further information and more tips for each section, check out the full brochure.

Other articles of interest:

People putting the Care in Health Care

Things to ask a Home Health Agency

How to pick the Best Nursing Home

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