Repetition Reduces Risk – Health Care Safety Tips You Need to Know!

Some of the most valuable patient safety lessons learned don’t come from medical textbooks, but rather from the experience of being the patient. Patients often find themselves in situations where they could suffer from medical errors, if they don’t pay close attention. Medical errors are all too common and can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It is probably not hard to think of someone you know who has suffered from a medical error.

Many medical errors are preventable if critical information is just repeated and verified. This article will give you some examples of common medical situations that should never happen and tips for preventing them.

Repeat Allergy and Medication Information:

It sounds simple enough . . . you tell your medical providers what allergies you have, they record it in their records and you are all set, right? Wrong! You should be repeating what allergies you have to every health care provider you come in contact with. Why, do you need to do this? Because sadly, health care providers often do not take the time to read your chart before they see you or you may see multiple providers during one appointment.

I have personally had health care providers try to prescribe an antibiotic for me that I am allergic to because they didn’t look at my chart. As a patient in the hospital, I have also had multiple staff approach me with latex gloves on even though there was a large sign above my bed reading LATEX ALLERGY.

Sometimes, in paperless offices, health care providers do not even have a chart to read. They have a single sheet of computer generated paper or a lap top computer to use. In these cases, they are relying on patient information previously entered into a computer.

At one of my most recent doctor appointments, I was shocked to learn the nurse had no idea that I was allergic to latex and had multiple other drug allergies. It seems they had recently gone paperless and the person entering the data had simply forgotten to enter the alerts. The nurse had no idea how many other patient records were incomplete — how frightening is that?

The same scenario is true for medications. You should repeat what prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and supplements you are taking to your health care providers at each appointment, whether they ask you or not. This is especially true if they are going to be prescribing a new medication for you.

Tip: Repeat your allergy and current medication information to each health care provider you come in contact with. Repetition here can help prevent dangerous allergic and/or drug reactions.

Repeat Procedural Information:

Repetition is equally important during procedures. Besides letting your health care providers know about your allergies and medications, you need to speak up if you think something is wrong. Trust your instincts, they are usually correct. Here are two real life examples of patients who prevented problems by speaking up and repeating what was supposed to happen:

The first patient was having routine x-rays taken of her shoulder. She knew why she was there and was getting lined up for the x-rays, when she began to feel uneasy. She didn’t understand why they where concentrating on her right shoulder when she was there to have her left shoulder x-rayed. Fortunately, she questioned the technician before the x-rays were taken and said, “You are taking pictures of my left shoulder aren’t you?” Sure enough, the technician was lining up the wrong shoulder! A very embarrassed and apologetic technician then x-rayed the correct shoulder.

A second patient was going through chemotherapy as her cancer treatment. Her husband had been attending all her sessions with her. Today though, he began to feel uneasy. Things were not going as they usually did. When he questioned the nurse about the specifics of the drugs doses and rates of delivery, he learned the nurse was giving the drugs too quickly! He knew at what rate the drugs should be administered because he had written down specific information on previous visits. His attention to detail and repetitive nature had prevented her from getting the medication too quickly which could have caused severe complications!

Tip: Repeat and verify information during your medical procedures. Repetition here can help prevent many medical errors.

Repeat Your Decisions:

As patients, we all have medical choices/decisions to make and you should make a point to repeat your choices to your health care providers. This seems like such an easy thing to do, but when a patient is dealing with a number of different health care providers, your choices are not always passed along correctly. In addition, if your choices differ from what “is usually done” you are more likely to encounter a problem.

Before in-patient surgery, I had several opportunities to let my health care providers know what I wanted for pain medication. I told my surgeon, I wanted prescription ibuprofen, not Tylenol #3 with codeine. I told him very clearly I didn’t tolerate codeine well and I wanted to avoid feeling nauseous. During my pre-op appointment with anesthesiology, I let them know my pain medication wishes as well. The morning of my surgery, I again told my health care providers of my desire to avoid any pain medications with codeine.

Having expressed my pain medication choice to the hospital staff on three different occasions, I went to surgery confident I would be given the right pain medication after surgery. While still groggy after surgery, I asked the nurse what the pain medication pills where she was giving me and to my horror she said, “Tylenol #3, that’s what we always give.” Fortunately, I was coherent enough to refuse the medication and have her contact my doctor for prescription strength ibuprofen. This just goes to show you, sometimes you have to repeat and repeat and repeat.

A much more serious problem occurs with end of life issues. People feel very strongly about what measures they do or do not want done to them if they become incapacitated. How many times have you heard about battles over life-support decisions? Too often life-support choices/decisions are not respected because they are not known to family members and/or the proper hospital paperwork is not in place ahead of time.

Tip: Repeat your medical decisions and choices as many times as possible. When necessary, verify with your doctor, your attorney and other medical personnel that the appropriate paperwork is in place to make your wishes known to all your medical providers.

The examples described in this article actually happened to real patients. They are just a few of the unlimited situations where patients can use repetition to help improve their health care and avoid the risk of suffering from medical errors.

Tip: Listen to your instincts, write things down, repeat information and instructions and when in doubt — ask questions. If you’re the patient and you are unable to do these things, then have your patient advocate help you. In the end, it’s your health you’re protecting!

7 Natural Skin Care Tips For Looking Younger In No Time

Looking and feeling younger is a process that a lot of women and men are looking to do as they increase in age. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to counteract the aging process and to feel younger as you age. The natural skin care tips that I will reveal in this article will help you to take care and nurture your skin so that you can have the radiant skin that you dream of. Here’s the first natural skin care tip that I can give you for looking and feeling younger.

1) Drink a lot of water

You should strive to drink 8 glasses a water a day if you want to start looking and feeling younger. Water purifies your body and flushes out all the toxins so that you can have good skin health. You should also know that it is good for overall body health, so drink water today so you can feel healthier too.

2) Practice cleanliness

Being clean is an essential part of the natural skin care process. Practice good habits such as showering daily, putting on new clothes each day, and laying on a clean pillow and mattress. If you want to look younger and feel younger, it’s important that you have clean skin.

3) Exercise

Exercise can do wonders for the body. Not only is it good for physical and mental health, but it’s also good for your skin too. When you exercise, you increase the blood flow that helps to remove your body of toxins and keep you healthy. Also you will be glad to know that exercise helps to counteract stress – which is a leading cause of poor health.

There are a number of things that you can do to exercise in your spare time. Try jogging around your home for 10 minutes or doing pushups whenever a commercial comes on TV. There’s no shortage of exercise ideas and all you have to do is get up and start moving today to start feeling better.

4) Eat healthy

Eating healthy is essential to your skin care success. Some foods are known to cause acne (in particular oily foods), and they should be avoided immediately if you want to start having better skin. Replace what you’re currently eating with healthier meals. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to get rid of the body toxins that plague your skin.

5) Get enough rest

Sleep is another pivotal component to your healthy skin care. Try your best to get 8 hours of sleep every night so that you can stop the lagging of skin. Enough sleep is also good for beating stress, which is important for healthy skin care.

6) Avoid exposure to the sun

You will want to protect your skin from ultra-violet radiation. This is known to cause brown spots on the body and can really do a number on your skin. Whenever you’re outside in the sun, put on sunscreen lotion with and SPF of 15. This will give you the upper hand when dealing with sun exposure.

7) Beat stress

Beating stress is important to your skin care success. When you feel bad, your health declines, and so does your skin health. Try to do things that will help you to relax and feel better. The more you can beat stress on a daily basis, the more younger and healthier you will feel because of it.

All 7 of these skin care tips can be useful to you if you use them to take care of your skin.

Good luck with taking care of your skin and looking and feeling younger now.

Women’s Health Care in Pakistan

Pakistan has poor health as well as sanitation infrastructure. This is especially true in the rural regions of the country. About 19% of the Paki population is malnourished as against the 17% average maintained for developing countries. Astoundingly, 30% of the child population under the age of 5 is malnourished! Some of the leading causes of diseases and death are gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, congenital abnormalities, malaria, and typhoid fever. According to the United Nations estimates AIDS will be the single major health concern, could soon take the shape of an epidemic. As of 2003, there were just 68 doctors for every 100,000 Pakistanis. By 2002, the country had 12,501 health institutions including 4,590 dispensaries, 906 hospitals and a total count of 80,665 hospital beds. The rural regions had only 550 health centers with a total count of 8,840 beds.

However, that being said it is heartening to see that the Pakistani government is committed to the cause of having a healthier and well-looked after population. This is specially evidenced by the new health, nutrition, and population guidelines issued by the government’s National Health Policy Guidelines till 2010. One of the redeeming aspects of this promising initiative is the introduction of a lady health worker (LHW). A community-based service, this program aims to give health related information, basic health care tips, and family planning guidance to women in Pakistan. Currently, there are 3,000 women serving as LHWs in their communities.

While there have been many health-related plans being implemented by the government, one health issue that is still a major cause of concern for women of Pakistan is the high neonatal and maternal mortality rates. Developed countries have been successful in reducing the number of deaths of pregnant women by educating and training the nurses-midwives, some developing nations have been unable to do so. Though the exact maternal and neonatal mortality rates of women in Pakistan are unavailable, it is generally believed that the rate could be around 30-50% (or higher).

If the factors that contribute to this high mortality rate could be controlled, a reduction in the neonatal death rate is likely to come down significantly. Using capable and trained nurses or midwives for deliveries and other women health related issues throughout Pakistan, would be greatly instrumental in a lower mortality rate and better health of the country’s women as well as child population.

Neonatal and maternal health issues are wide spread and complicated due to frequent child births. Shocking as it may seem, but one out of every 38 women dies during child birth. The infant mortality rate is no better and stands at 101 deaths per 1,000 kids, while for those aged below 5 have higher mortality rate with 140 deaths per 1,000 births. These numbers far exceed the averages for developing countries by 60% and 36% respectively.

Though more and more men and women in Pakistan are using contraceptives, the rate of fertility still remains high and there is an average of 5.3 births per woman with population growth rate much higher than anywhere else in South Asia.

But perhaps more plaguing than these diseases are the multiple issues of society that considers women as low.