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Stay safe in hospital 9 expert tips

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Falling sick when you’re away from home is never part of the plan. And having to find treatment, or even a hospital in an unfamiliar place can be daunting.

Thankfully, major cities and popular tourist destinations in Asia have excellent healthcare, and with travel insurance from Budget Direct Insurance your treatment can be assured. 

In any hospital it is still advised for you to understand what treatment you are getting, and to take responsibility for your own care. Our trusty travel team offers some great tips on how you, or the person you’re with, can stay safe in hospital.

Advice from the experts

  1. Firstly, make sure anyone who touches you, including doctors, staff and visitors wash their hands with soapy water.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poor hand washing habits is a "significant contributor to disease transmission." The CDC estimates that 2 million patients come down with hospital-spread infections annually, and that a third of these infections could be prevented. One study found that health care workers are more likely to wash up between patients, and use more soap, when asked if they've done so. So ask. "Do it in a joking way, or wear a pin that says, 'Don't touch me until you wash your hands,' " says Dr. Turnbull.* 

  2. Ask your doctor to tuck away his tie or anything which can dangle and touch one patient and then another. Research suggests this helps prevent the spread of bacteria or superbugs like MRSA. The British Medical Association recommends doctors don’t wear ties and have bare arms below the elbow.
  3. Find out who is treating you – is he or she an attending physician (an experienced doctor), or a resident (a doctor in training)? If you have to have a procedure you may want to get the name of the doctor and do a quick search on the internet. Don’t be put off if you can’t find any information, ask about their background and experience.
  4. Keep a list of all your medications, why you take them, how many and how you take them. You have a right to see your chart.  Request it if you want.
  5. If you are in a hospital or a medical clinic where you think the level of hygiene could be better, wipe down things in your room like the remote control and bed rails with a sanitiser.
  6. If your room isn’t cleaned everyday with disinfectant, ask staff to do this. If this still doesn’t get done and you have a relative or friend with you, ask them to clean it.
  7. Keep an eye on wound dressings and drainage tubes and let your nurse know if they become loose or wet.
  8. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Understanding your treatment plan will make it easier for you to be involved in your own recovery. As one member of staff goes off shift, ask them to brief you on where you are up to with treatment.

    “The chance of medical mishaps shoots up during shift changes, says Arthur Aaron Levin, MPH, director of the Center for Medical Consumers” **

  9. As you leave hospital make sure you know what after care you need. You may be feeling groggy and forget what a busy doctor has told you, so write this down.

Remember the vast majority of care in most hospitals is excellent, these tips are designed to help you think about your care, take responsibility for it and help yourself to get better.

In the second of our blogs on hospitals, you’ll find advice on what to do if you need urgent treatment when travelling slightly off the beaten track in Asia. 

Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember it’s vital to have good Travel cover.
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