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Consumer Reports Health News - August 2009
Date:8/26/2009

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says doctors and nurses should wash their hands in front of patients when they enter the room, in order to prevent infection. And if they don't, it's up to the patient to remind them. While that's not easy to do, Consumer Reports has several suggestions for how to broach the subject. To read the full report, go to www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org.

GETTING OUT OF THE HOSPITAL SAFELY

Hospital discharge is a crucial moment in medical care, when many things can - and too often do - go wrong. According to John Santa., M.D., director of the Consumer Reports Health Rating Center, up to half of discharged patients experience drug errors, in part because doctors don't always double-check for interactions or adequately explain the proper use of the drugs they prescribe. Patients also often go home without fully understanding the warning signs to watch for and type of follow-up care they need. That's part of the reason why 15 to 20 percent of hospital patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days.

Dr. Santa advises consumers to start planning for leaving the hospital before checking. They should start with asking their physicians about what sort of services or equipment they might need when they get home, and check with their insurers about coverage. They should find out in advance who will oversee their hospital care, and line up a few friends or family friends who can act as advocates for them while they're in the hospital and help coordinate follow-up care after discharge. Dr. Santa recommends making a checklist, so that consumers know what to watch out for when they get home, how to address potential problems, and what kind of follow-up care they should get. To read Dr. Santa's articl
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SOURCE Consumer Reports Health
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