As the rates of Chronic Kidney Disease and Kidney Failure continue to soar, medical professionals including Nephrologists are becoming increasingly overwhelmed with patients in need. An alarming finding that "Physicians reporting burnout are twice as likely to make medical mistakes," remind patients that they must be very watchful and be their own best advocate. What's even more startling is that the study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, found that "55% [of doctors] reported burnout symptoms, 33% reported excessive fatigue and 6.5% recently thought about suicide. Eleven percent of all physicians reported a 'major medical error' and another 3.9% had a poor or failing patient safety grade in their primary work area during the previous 3 months." Use the following tips to be vigilant and remain on top of your care to avoid serious medical errors:
Double Check Medication Prescriptions: When a Chronic Kidney Disease or Dialysis patient's Nephrologist or another Specialist writes a prescription, make sure you can read and understand it. If you cannot read your doctor's handwriting, your pharmacist might not be able to either. Also, when you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, double check and make sure that they are providing the correct amounts for your specific needs. Pharmacists can deal with hundreds of patients' medications any given week and can make mistakes.
You Are The Final Decision Maker: Speak up if you have questions or concerns about a procedure, medication or decision that your Healthcare Team is recommending. Do not just "go with it" because you think that your team knows more than you do as a patient. Ultimately, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients know their bodies better than anyone and should be a key member and final decision maker when it comes to their health. That said, it is important that you learn as much as you can about your condition(s) and potential treatment options based on the latest scientific evidence as well as future breakthroughs. Patients can do this by visiting KidneyBuzz.com every day and reading the articles, watching videos, talking to other patients on the KidneyBuzz Facebook Page (nearly 72,000), and by asking their doctors and nurses questions.
Research Key Members Of Your Healthcare Team: If you are having surgery or beginning to work with a new doctor, make sure that you do some research online to learn about other patients' experiences with the Surgeon or Physician via social media or chat boards. Also, you can click here to research a doctor via the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) website and check the basics with their DocInfo.org search function. With the Physician's name and location, you will find his or her board certifications, education, states with active licenses, and any actions against the Medical Professional. You can also talk with friends and family for suggestions of a good Nephrologist or Specialist that they would or would not recommend - if you feel comfortable in asking.
Help Limit Surgery Mistakes: If you have an upcoming surgery and have a choice, choose a hospital where many patients have had the procedure or surgery you need. Research has shown that patients tend to have better results when they are treated in hospitals that have a great deal of experience with their condition. What's more, if you are in a hospital - or at Dialysis for that matter - consider asking all Healthcare Workers or Technicians who will touch you whether they have washed their hands and wear gloves since handwashing and wearing gloves is a key factor in preventing the spread of infections.
Wear Your Fistula Protector Wristbands: Click here to get your Fistula Protector Wristbands. Along with the growing number of sick patients, there is also an increase in medical emergencies. That is why if a Dialysis patient falls unconscious during an emergency situation (slip-and-fall, fainting spell, car accident, etc.) they are at a high risk of their AV Fistula being misused. If a patient cannot speak for him- or herself, then EMTs who rush on the scene are highly likely to use the larger Dialysis Arm for a blood pressure cuff or IV Line since they seldom check for shunts or fistulas before attempting to resuscitate (revive someone from unconsciousness or apparent death) a patient who is unconscious. The Fistula Protector Wristbands may be your last line of protection if you fall unconscious and cannot speak for yourself.
How do you try to limit medical errors? Share your experience and insights with the nearly 72,000 Friends who have liked KidneyBuzz.com on Facebook (click here). Also, follow the 250,000+ monthly individual viewers who visit KidneyBuzz.com regularly for the latest daily news and information which teach those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Kidney Transplant, Diabetes, and Hypertension how to better manage and improve their lives. Erica Ashley Jenkins (Dialysis Nurse) said, "Hello I just wanted to let you know I work in a dialysis clinic and over half of our clinic reads this page, we enjoy everything you put on and love to have new information. My patients are very grateful."