Going to hospital (video transcript)

00:09 seconds

Going into hospital can be a stressful and anxious time for patients and their families however with a little planning you can make your visit as smooth and comfortable as possible.

00:18 seconds

Begin by thinking about how you will get there. Avoid driving yourself if possible. Consider booking a taxi or asking a friend or relative to take you there. It's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the hospital's parking areas and nearest set down and pick up points.

00:34 seconds

You'll also need to think about what to bring. Make a list and tick off items as you pack.

00:40 seconds

Include living aids like glasses and dentures, your regular medications, x-rays or scans you'll need and, of course, your Medicare card. If you have private health insurance make sure you bring details of your cover.

00:53 seconds

If you have private health insurance you can choose to be treated as a private patient.

00:57 seconds

Private patients can sometimes choose which doctor treats them. In a public hospital private patients' health insurance will cover the costs of medical services, accommodation and other related costs.

01:08 minutes

Some procedures will require you to fast or eat only certain foods before coming to hospital.

01:14 minutes

Make sure you contact the hospital beforehand so you know of any special preparation you'll need to undertake before coming to hospital.

01:22 minutes

Let someone know if you have difficulty speaking or understanding English, because you can ask for an interpreter. It's best not to rely on family members for interpreting on medical matters. Most hospitals provide – or have access to – a free interpreter service.

01:39 minutes

When it comes to having an operation or test, especially one that may involve risk, you are required to give what is called 'informed consent'. In other words, you'll need to agree to the procedure or treatment suggested by your doctor for your medical condition.

01:53 minutes

To provide this consent, you must be fully informed of your treatment options including the expected outcomes, risks and benefits and known complications of each, so that you can decide which treatment is best for you. Your doctor or health professional should discuss all options with you – even the option of doing nothing at all. Remember, you are entitled to seek a second opinion.

02:18 minutes

Managing your medications safely at home and in hospital is vital for your health. It needn't be difficult but mistakes can happen when medicines are prescribed, given or taken incorrectly. It's important that you know what medicines you take and why you take them.

02:34 minutes

Managing your medicines safely in hospital means speaking up about your medicines, asking questions if you're unsure about your medicines, finding out about what your medicines are for, discussing options with your doctor and making sure you understand how to take your medicines.

02:53 minutes

It's really important that you keep track of your medications. Medicines are usually prescribed by a doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacist. They can be bought at your local pharmacy, supermarket, or health food store and include complementary medicines like vitamins and nutritional supplements, and natural or herbal remedies.

03:10 minutes

Medicines may be tablets, capsules or liquids, patches, creams and ointments, drops and sprays for eyes, nose, ears and mouth, inhalers and puffers, injections, implants, pessaries and suppositories.

03:25 minutes

When you are admitted to hospital you should advise hospital staff of all your medicines by bringing all of your medicines with you. Also bring a list of every medication you're currently taking and show them to your doctor and pharmacist. Your GP or community pharmacist can help.

03:41 minutes

Your hospital doctor and pharmacist will particularly need to know about any recent changes to your medications including any medicines you have recently started taking, medicines you have recently stopped taking, and changes in how much or how often you use the medicine.

03:56 minutes

Your doctor and pharmacist will also need to know if you've had any problems with medicines in the past. This might be an allergic or bad reaction to a medicine or difficulty swallowing medicines.

04:07 minutes

Your medications may change while you are in hospital. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain why you are being given particular medications, their possible side-effects and whether they can be taken safely with your other medications. Tell staff straight away if you are feeling unwell after taking any medicine.

04:24 minutes

Make sure that staff have checked your wrist band identification before you are given any medications to ensure the medicines are prescribed for you. If you think you should have received some medications, or the medications appear different, ask.

04:37 minutes

When you're ready to go home, have the doctor, nurse or pharmacist go over each medication with you or a family member or friend. Ensure your own medicines are returned to you if you still need them.

04:48 minutes

Before you leave, ask your pharmacist if you should stop or restart any medicines you were taking at home. If you have received new medicines or a dose has changed for a medicine you were previously taking, make sure you receive a new prescription or supply to take home.

05:02 minutes

Unless you have been given other instructions by your health professional in hospital, make an appointment to see your GP within two weeks of going home to discuss your ongoing medicine needs.

05:12 minutes

Taking your medicines at the right time and at the right dose is essential. If you have trouble keeping track of your medicines, there are aids that can help like a dosette box. Ask your pharmacist for advice.

05:23 minutes

Health professionals are available in hospital and in the community to help you manage your medicines safely. While you're in hospital, your doctor, pharmacist and nurse are all available to help you. When you get home, you can call on your GP or local doctor, your community pharmacist, a nurse practitioner or family member or carers. You can consider all these people part of your support network to help you keep track of your medicines.

05:51 minutes

You have a fundamental right to health care that is respectful, responsive, safe and effective.

05:57 minutes

Likewise, you have an obligation to treat staff and other patients with respect and to provide your health practitioner with all relevant health information.

06:06 minutes

Healthcare professionals have a duty to treat you respectfully, listen to your concerns, answer your questions clearly and honestly and inform and educate you about your illness.

06:15 minutes

Just as doctors and nurses and hospital staff should respect you, showing respect back to them makes for a more pleasant hospital experience, both for you and those who will treat and care for you.

06:25 minutes

Patients have responsibilities too. Amongst other things you are obliged to provide your health provider with all relevant health information, including your medical history and all medicines you are currently taking. You must also advise staff of any change in your condition or problems with your treatment.

06:43 minutes

Every hospital has a process that enables patients to provide comments about the quality of health care they receive, including complaints and compliments. You can learn more about this process by contacting a staff member on your ward, or the manager of the hospital's Customer Liaison Department.

07:03 minutes

Personal information is recorded about every patient who attends a hospital in Western Australia. This information is coded to protect your privacy and sent to the Western Australian Department of Health.

07:14 minutes

Various legal acts and regulations authorise the Department to collect certain information about you. This can include information about your birth, your giving birth or undergoing an assisted reproductive procedure. It can also include a diagnosis of cancer or communicable disease or treatment for a mental illness.

07:32 minutes

The information is used only for research, planning or service improvement and you cannot be identified from this information.

07:39 minutes

You have the right to view personal information about you that is held by the Department.

07:10 minutes

To access your health record, you should apply in writing to the hospital or community health service that you have attended.

07:55 minutes

Before commencing any medical procedure, your clinical team will confirm with you your identity, the procedure you are having and the site on your body at which the procedure is being performed.

08:05 minutes

Following surgery, it's important to take good care of yourself to give yourself the best chance of a quick recovery.

08:12 minutes

When you are unwell or recovering from surgery, infection can delay your recovery and make you feel worse. But you can minimise your risk of developing infection by avoiding close contact with anybody who has an infection and asking people not to visit if they are unwell.

08:28 minutes

If you have an open wound, follow instructions about treatment and care closely and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.

08:36 minutes

Always cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and wash your hands immediately.

08:41 minutes

Minimise your risk of a fall after surgery by wearing appropriate clothing and footwear, getting up slowly after sitting or lying down, having glasses and walking aids within easy reach, drinking plenty of fluids and familiarising yourself with your surroundings.

08:57 minutes

Pressure injuries can be a nasty post-surgery complication and can develop quickly if any part of the body is subject to constant and unrelieved pressure. Pressure injuries can blister, break and become ulcerated. They can also be painful, take a long time to heal and hamper your movement.

09:13 minutes

You can take steps to minimise your risk of developing pressure injuries, including maintaining good posture when sitting, changing body position often when lying in bed, using special equipment to alleviate pressure, checking your skin regularly for signs of redness or blistering, using only mild soap when bathing and moisturising your skin well. You may be given special dressings to protect existing or potential pressure areas.

09:42 minutes

Before you leave hospital, make sure you are given a discharge summary about your diagnosis and treatment from your doctor. You should also check that a copy of the summary is sent to your GP as it will help them to manage your ongoing health care.

09:55 minutes

When you're ready to go home, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to run through each medication with you. If any of your medications change or new ones are added, remember to update your medication list when you get home.

10:08 minutes

Emotional and lifestyle adjustments are common after serious illness or major surgery so you needn't feel embarrassed or ashamed if you're depressed or having trouble coping.

10:17 minutes

You may find it helpful to talk to somebody like a friend, health professional or patient support group.

10:22 minutes

Contact your GP immediately if you have any concerns about your condition after leaving hospital.

If you have an open wound, follow instructions about treatment and care closely and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.

Last reviewed: 22-10-2019

Patient Safety and Clinical Quality

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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