Patient Empowerment

The Healthcare System Puzzle

Today’s healthcare system is a puzzle with many pieces. To get the care you need, you may need to work with many people.

For example, your primary care physician, the hospital, perhaps a nursing home, and your family are all members of your healthcare team.  As a consumer of health services, you will use some or all of the pieces.  The one thing that remains constant is YOU as the patient in the center.

It is your responsibility to make sure that all of the different pieces of the puzzle are working together to take care of your needs. Today, our focus will be on making the hospital stay successful. We will talk about the importance of maintaining good records, providing information to your healthcare team, and asking your team members the right questions.

The Facts of Life

As we get older, our body systems change, and sometimes, they don’t work as well as they have in the past. We may become ill and need to be admitted into the hospital.

Visit to the Hospital

The hospital is a place where we get treated for our illnesses.  While your caregivers, with your help, do all that they can to assure that our hospital stay has a positive outcome, things do, sometimes go wrong. This is why YOU must always be actively involved in your care. Sometimes we could suffer complications when we are in the hospital

Your Responsibility

While you are in the hospital, you have a responsibility to play an active role in our healthcare.

What Your Caregivers Need From You

Your successful hospital stay starts even before you get to the hospital. A lot depends on the amount and accuracy of the information that you provide to your caregivers.

How your caregivers see you:

  • It is all about you
  • You play a major role in helping us take care of you
  • They want you to participate in the care they provide  to you
  • They see you as a partner in your care

Their success in caring for you depends on “Telling” them the information listed on this Handout B.

Personal Health Record – PHR

In order to provide this type of information, you need to keep a good record of these items. Each of us should have a Personal Health Record.

Personal Health Records – PHR’s are tools that let you keep track of your lifelong health information. PHR’s allow you to share this information with anyone who has a need to know.

Your PHR can be as simple as notes on a sheet of notebook paper, or it can be as detailed as this booklet. Of course, the more information that you have about your health, the more you can share with your caregivers. And, the more they know, the better it is for them to take care of us.

Asking Questions

Whenever you talk with your healthcare providers, ask questions! Questions are powerful tools. Your providers want you to ask questions. They know that the more you know about your health situations, the better the outcome of their treatment. We will talk more about asking questions later in our presentation. “Telling” and “Asking” are important skills to have when helping with your care.

Your healthcare providers see you as a partner in your care. While you are in the hospital, make sure you stay informed about the care that you are receiving.

In-hospital checklist