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Treatment Safety

The following are steps you can take to help ensure successful treatment regarding hospitalization:

  • If you have a choice, choose a hospital where many patients have had the procedure or surgery that you need.
  • Ask all health care workers who have direct contact with you whether or not they have washed their hands or used a hand disinfectant. Hand washing or the use of a hand disinfectant are important ways to prevent the spread of infections in hospitals.
  • If you are having surgery, make sure that you and your surgeon agree and are clear on exactly what procedure will be done
  • Make sure that someone, such as your personal physician, is in charge of your care. This is especially important if you have many health problems or are hospitalized.
  • Make sure that all health professionals involved in your care have important health information about you. Do not assume everyone knows everything about your medical history.
  • Ask a family member or friend to be at the hospital with you and be your advocate (someone who can help get things done and speak up for you if you cannot).
  • Know that "more" is not always better. It is a good idea to find out why a test or treatment is needed and how it can help you. You may be better off without the test.
  • If you have a test, don't assume that no news is good news. Ask about the results.
  • Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your physician and nurses and by using other reliable sources. For example, treatment recommendations based on the latest scientific evidence are available online from the National Guideline Clearinghouse at
  • When you are being discharged, ask your physician to explain the treatment plan you will use at home. This includes learning about your medicines and finding out when you can get back to your regular activities.
  • Offer suggestions that could improve the safety of the environment and help protect other patients, family members and health care workers.
  • For concerns regarding safety or your care, please speak with the director of the area where you are located or call the Patient Safety Officer at (515) 247-3204 or the Patient Representative at (515) 247-3296.
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