During your hospital stay
During your stay in hospital, you will be cared for by different staff at different times of the day.
Staff involved in your care need to be kept up to date with information about your care and treatment.
This sharing of information about your care in hospital is called “Clinical Handover”. You, and your carer or family member, can be expected to be involved in this process so you’ll know what is going on with your care and treatment
If at any time you don’t understand what is being said to you by a doctor, nurse or other health professional, always ask for the information to be repeated or explained in another way.
Some hospitals perform teaching and research which means trainee staff may be involved in your care. Training and research are important and benefit the community and the health system. However, you do have the option to decline to take part in the training of health professionals or in medical research.
Before commencing any medical procedure, your clinical team will confirm:
- your identity
- any allergies or bad reactions you may have experienced to any medicines
- the procedure you are having, and if applicable
- the site on your body where the procedure is being performed.
Ensure your consent form is correct and complete, and that the site and side of the procedure is marked on your skin using a waterproof marker.
To give yourself the best chance of recovery after treatment, you should be aware of common risks that can slow your healing.
While in hospital, patients have an increased risk of falling. This can be due to changes in medical conditions, medications and different environments.
You can lower your risk of falling by:
- calling staff for help when moving and also if you are feeling unwell, dizzy or there are hazards in your way
- having the call bell within reach and using it to call for help – if you’re ringing for help to get to the bathroom try to use the bell in plenty of time. Staff care about you and will get to you as quickly as possible, but they may also be caring for other patients
- familiarising yourself with your surroundings
- wearing appropriate clothing and sensible footwear with good support
- getting up slowly after sitting or lying down
- being careful in wet areas
- keeping glasses and walking aids within easy reach and using them if needed.
Ask the doctor, nurse or therapy staff for more advice. If you do have a fall, do not try to get up by yourself or rely on your friends, family or carer to help you. Always call for help from staff. Staff will try to find out what contributed to your fall to reduce the risk of falling again.
Family members can help by notifying nursing staff when they are leaving, particularly if the patient may be confused. They can also help by making sure the area is free of clutter.
Reduce risk of developing pressure injuries
Pressure injuries can be a nasty complication and can develop quickly if any part of the body experiences constant and unrelieved pressure.
You can minimise your risk of developing pressure injuries by:
- changing body position frequently when lying in bed
- drinking plenty of water
- maintaining good posture when sitting
- checking your skin for signs of redness or blistering
- using only mild soap when bathing
- moisturising your skin well.
Advise nursing staff immediately if you notice signs of a pressure injury (such as redness that does not go away, broken or blistered skin, localised pain, tingling or numbness).
Speak up if you feel unwell
Nobody knows your health like you do. You are the best person
to notice subtle changes in your health. Likewise, your family and loved ones who spend a lot of time with you may notice changes in how you look or act, before health professionals notice these changes. If you or your family notice changes in your health, it’s
important to discuss these with the staff who are looking after you. You could ask the nurse when they pop in to check on you, talk to the doctor when they come in to see you or, if you think it’s urgent, press the call bell. Your input is invaluable – feel free to discuss any concerns with the team caring for you.
Examples of things you might like to discuss include (but are not limited to):
- changes in how fast you are breathing
- noticing that you are more pale than usual
- hands or feet unusually cold or warm
- feeling unusually hot and clammy
- acting or feeling out of character
- having more pain than usual
- feeling confused, anxious, distressed or angry
- concerns that you have had different medications to usual
- feeling extra drowsy or sleepy
- feeling nauseous.
Video – During your hospital stay
Watch more of our videos at the WA Health YouTube channel (external site).
Read the video transcript – During your hospital stay.
Read the video transcript – During your hospital stay.
- Ensure your consent form is correct and complete.
- Some procedures will require you to fast or only eat certain foods before going to hospital.
- Make sure you know of any special preparation required for your procedure.
Quality Improvement and Change Management Unit
This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.