Safe Hospital Stay Tips for Seniors

Hospitals can be dangerous places for seniors. But there are things you can do to make your stay — or your aging parent’s stay — safer.

One of the most critical hospital safety tips: Ask a family member or trusted friend to serve as your advocate…

Keep a notebook and have your advocate record the names of all the doctors involved in your care and what they said. Make sure you understand your diagnosis and treatment plan. Write down questions you want to ask a doctor in between visits.

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Other hospital safety tips for seniors include:

Be prepared: Bring your medical history and a complete list of all the medications and supplements you take with you. Record the name and dose of any new prescriptions you are given. Remember to take your glasses and hearing aids.

Be smart: If you’re supposed to stay in bed, don’t try to get up without help. A lot of prideful older hospital patients make things much worse when they fall trying to make it to the bathroom alone.

Ask questions: If you don’t know why you’re taking a medication, ask. If you don’t know why you are being examined, or by whom, ask. Write down questions for the doctor or nurse in your notebook so you won’t forget. If you can’t ask, have your advocate get the answers for you.