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How to Be Your Child's Advocate at the Hospital

How to Be Your Child's Advocate at the Hospital

You can't be a silent bystander at any point in the care of your child. Make sure to speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you're the shy, passive type, you need to go through a major personality change while your child is hospitalized. You are your child's advocate, and you need to take charge and communicate effectively with the hospital staff. You can't be afraid to ask questions or point out things that seem amiss. To encourage patients and their families to do this, the Joint Commission has a campaign based upon two words. You guessed it: Speak up. This patient-safety campaign is aimed at giving patients and their caregivers the muscle to prevent infection and medical errors.

The Speak Up campaign has many suggestions for ways you can help prevent errors in your child's care. Here are a few:

  • What test is this? Don't be afraid to tell the staff if you think your child is about to get the wrong test or medication.
  • Want some gloves? If a worker isn't wearing gloves and is about to take your child's blood or another sample, say something.
  • ID, please. Hospital staff should always check your child's ID and ask for her birthday or other identifying information before any test or procedure. (Make sure the sample is labeled in front of you with your child's name on it.)
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