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How patients can avoid complications with hospital discharges

Some hospital error cases are based on patient readmissions that occur because of mistakes on diagnosing patients for discharge, and the lack of education that patients receive. Indeed, there are a number of things that hospitals can do in these areas to increase patient safety.  This post will highlight some important considerations that patients should be aware of. 

Your doctor or nurse should educate you about blood thinners – If you recently have had surgery, chances are that you may be discharged from the hospital with a prescription for a blood thinner. It is critical that your physician give you detailed instructions about your prescription, and you should ask all the questions you feel are necessary in order to feel comfortable with what you will be taking.

Read your discharge plan – Most hospitals have protocols where the patient is read their discharge plan, or it is explained to them by the physician or a designated agent. Essentially, the discharge plan should include what prescriptions will be given and how often the medications should be taken, when follow up appointments will take place, as well as who primary contact shall be should the patient have questions.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – As we have alluded to earlier, if you are unsure about what is going on, do not be intimidated into not asking questions about what is supposed to happen. Perhaps having an advocate on your side (such as a spouse or an adult child) to ask questions can help as well.

The preceding is not legal advice.

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