Summer 2004
How You Can Be a Partner in Your Health Care

The physicians, nurses, and all of the staff at Bridgeport Hospital are fully committed to advancing a culture of quality and safety. We offer these suggestions to help you fully understand and participate in your own healthcare, both in the hospital and in your physician's office.

Ask Questions

Choose a doctor whom you feel comfortable talking to about your health and treatment.
Speak up if you have concerns. It's okay to ask questions and to expect answers you can understand.
Take a relative or friend with you to the doctor's offi ce or the hospital, if this will help you ask questions and understand the answers.

Be Informed About Your Medications

Keep a list of all the medicines you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, and herbals. (See box, below.)
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about: all the medicines you take, including over-thecounter, ibuprofen, vitamins, and herbals.
any drug allergies you have.
Additional medication issues: Ask the pharmacist about side effects and what foods or other things to avoid while taking the medication.
Read the label, including warnings. Make sure it's the medication your doctor ordered and you know how to use it.
If the medication looks different than you expected, ask the pharmacist about it.

Stay Informed about Test Results

Make sure you obtain the results of all tests and procedures. Ask the doctor or nurse when and how you will obtain the results.
Don't assume the results are ok if you don't receive them when expected. Call the doctor and ask for them.
Make sure you understand what the results mean and what follow-up care may be needed.

Choose Your Hospital Thoughtfully

You have more than one hospital to choose from, ask your doctor which hospital has the best care for your condition. For some procedures (such as heart bypass surgery), research shows results are often better at hospitals doing a lot of these procedures.
Before you leave the hospital, ask about follow-up care and make sure you understand all instructions.

If You Need Surgery:

Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery. You, your doctor, and your surgeon should all agree on exactly what will be done during the operation.
Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses if you have allergies or ever had a bad reaction to anesthesia.
Ask your doctors and surgeons: Who will take charge of my care while I'm in the hospital?
Exactly what will you be doing?
How long will it take?
What will happen after the surgery?
How can I expect to feel during recovery?
By staying fully informed and asking plenty of questions, you can be an active partner in your healthcare.

Call for a FREE Medication Form to help you keep track of your medications, allergies, immunizations, and other important information! It comes with a wallet-sized protective sleeve. Just dial 888-357-2396.