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Tips to Improve Your Medical Care
UPMC Altoona wants you to become a part of your medical team. You can help by reading this and being involved.

Know Your History
Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines. Make sure that all health professionals involved in your care have important health information about you:
  • Medication list and dosage - carry this with you at all times.
  • Brief medical history of illnesses/surgeries.
  • Copies of studies/tests that you are given by your physician.
  • Do not assume that everyone knows everything they need to know.
  • Understand Your Medicines
    Make sure all your doctors know about everything you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs. Bring all your medicines and supplements with you to your doctor visits. "Brown bagging" your medicines can help you and your doctor talk about them and find out if there are any problems. It can also help your doctor keep your records up to-date, which can help you get better quality care. Ask for written information about the side effects your medicine could cause and be alert for these symptoms. Be sure to tell your health care team if you think these are occurring.

    Be Involved/Ask Questions/Learn More
    Speak up if you have questions or concerns. You have a right to question anyone who is involved with your care. Know the rules of your insurance coverage. It may determine where you receive care and will determine what is paid for and what is your responsibility. If you have a choice, choose a hospital at which many patients have the procedure or surgery you need. Choose a hospital at which your doctor works. Research shows that patients tend to have better results when they are treated in hospitals that have a great deal of experience with their condition. The single most important way you can help to get quality care is to be an active member of your health care team. Learn more about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor and nurse and by using other sources such as reliable Internet sites. For general information regarding services, e-mail us at info@altoonaregional.org

    Have an Advocate and Plan Ahead
    Ask a family member or friend to be there with you and to be your advocate (someone who can help get things done and speak up for you if you can't). Even if you think you don't need help now, you might need it later. Learn more about whether you want life-sustaining procedures/treatment if you are in an end-of-life state. Discuss this with your family physician. You can obtain additional information by contacting Case Management at (814) 889-2256.

    Follow Up
    If you have a test, don't assume that no news is good news. Ask about the result or schedule a follow-up appointment with your physician. When you are being discharged from the hospital make sure you understand the treatment plan you will use at home. This includes learning about your medicines and finding out when you can get back to your regular activities. Research shows that at discharge time, doctors think their patients understand more than they really do about what they should not do when they return home.
    Preventing Infections: What can you do?
  • Wash your hands after handling any type of soiled material, before eating and after using the bathroom.
  • Be an active member of your health care team. Remind doctors and nurses to wash their hands before and after working with you.
  • If you have an intravenous catheter (IV), keep the dressing clean and dry. Tell your nurse if the dressing is loose or gets wet.
  • If you have a dressing on a wound, be sure to let your nurse know if it is loose or becomes wet.
  • After surgery be sure to follow your doctor's instructions regarding deep breathing, breathing exercises and getting out of bed to help prevent lung infections.
  • Remind people not to visit if they are ill.
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