Wash your hands.,
Don’t touch other hospital patients.,
Don’t touch medical equipment.,
Follow your caregiver’s directions.,
Get plenty of sleep.,
Keep well hydrated.,
Want to get well.,
Strive to be the exception.,
Combat fear and anger.
To reduce the risk of getting a bacterial or viral infection during your hospital stay, wash your hands on a regular basis with soap and water.Wash your hands any time they become soiled, such as after using the bathroom, coming into contact with people who are ill, or before eating.
Avoid touching your face frequently, particularly your mucus membranes, such as the eyes, nose, and mouth. Viral and bacterial infections are easily introduced into your body via these areas.;
, Touching other hospital patients isn’t a good idea because they may be harboring antibiotic-resistant bacteria or dangerous viruses on their skin or clothing that can infect you and prevent you from getting well. It’s also smart to avoid sharing towels, washcloths, razors or clothes with other patients while you’re recovering in the hospital.
If you or any surrounding patients are coughing, then wear a surgical mask to reduce the risk of infection. Viruses and bacteria can travel relatively far distances within droplets of saliva and mucous.
The primary bacteria to be concerned with while you’re recovering in a hospital are drug-resistant MRSA bacteria and Clostridium difficile (causes severe diarrhea).MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria because they are resistant to most antibiotics.MRSA bacteria developed many years ago due to over-use of antibiotics within hospitals.
, While you’re trying to get well and heal in a hospital, you shouldn’t touch any medical equipment or machines because you may disrupt their function or change the settings — which can put your life at risk. Medical devices, and diagnostic tools are also commonly contaminated with bacteria and viruses, even thought they are cleaned regularly. Some of the most deadly microorganisms can survive for days and even weeks on medical equipment.If a machine starts beeping or seems to be acting strangely, call a nurse immediately instead of trying to fix it yourself.
Each year greater than 18,000 Americans die from MRSA infections that they get while in U.S. hospitals.In addition to bacteria, dangerous viruses to be concerned about in hospitals include MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome)., The best way to avoid other mishaps that can compromise your health and wellness while recovering in a hospital is by following directions and advice from caregivers, such as doctors, nurses and technicians.Although you likely know your body best, healthcare professionals know how to deal with diseases and symptoms the best.
On the other hand, if you sense that something isn’t right and a mistake is made, trust your instincts and speak up.Another way to make sure you and your caregivers are on the same page is to ensure your hospital wristband is correct. Check for misspelled names and missing info, such as drug allergies.
If you don’t understand why your caregivers are doing certain procedures, don’t be afraid to ask. Nurses and other hospital personnel are there to help you understand why certain procedures are necessary and what they entail.
, Sleeping soundly for between seven to nine hours a night on a regular basis is important for healing and getting well, especially while in the potentially stressful hospital environment.Getting the appropriate quality and quantity of sleep positively impacts your mood, behavior, mental functions, immune system and healing ability. While in the hospital, try to keep a regular schedule and don’t nap too long in the afternoon (less than 45 minutes).
To stimulate a deep sleep, you need your environment quiet, dark and relatively cool. In a busy hospital, you may need to wear ear plugs and a comfortable sleeping mask over your eyes.
Avoid watching TV (especially scary movies) or using the computer just prior to bedtime. Try not to worry about your health or finances either. Read a funny book or listen to relaxing music or do other activities that are relaxing to you, such as crossword puzzles, word finds, or electronic games on your smart phone or tablet.
Make sure your mattress and pillow are comfortable. Hospital beds are adjustable, so position it so your body feels relaxed, but supported. You may also consider bringing a pillow and/or blanket from home.
Avoid consuming stimulants (caffeine, nicotine) and spicy foods just prior to bedtime.
, To get well and heal quickly, your body needs all the necessary nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals. Don’t skip meals while in the hospital and make sure that you stick to your prescribed diet.
After you get out of the hospital, continue to follow any special dietary guidelines that your doctor or surgeon have given you. You may benefit from including whole grains, lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy and lots of fresh produce (fruits and veggies). These foods will keep your immune system strong and allow your body to repair injured tissues.Fresh berries, in particular, are rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
Due to illness and/or reaction to medication, you may lose your appetite or feel nauseous, but it’s important to get nutritious food in your body. Let the hospital staff know if you lose your appetite or if you feel nauseous.
If you’re unable to chew your food very well, either blend it or consider taking some digestives enzymes just prior to meal times.
After you go home, avoid food that hampers your body’s ability to heal itself, such as refined carbohydrates / sugars (soda pop, candy, ice cream, milk chocolate), artificial sugars (aspartame), trans fats and various preservatives.
Supplements that can boost your immune system include: vitamins A, C and D, zinc, selenium, echinacea, olive leaf extract and astragalus root.However, make sure that you check with your physician first.
, In addition to food-based nutrients, your body also needs lots of water to heal and to keep microorganisms at bay — the mucus membranes of your sinuses, nose and throat need to be moist. When your mucus membranes get dry, they are more susceptible to irritation, inflammation and infection.As such, keep yourself well hydrated by drinking at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of purified water daily while in the hospital — it’ll keep your mucus membranes moist and give you a little more energy.
Avoid drinking caffeine-rich items, such as coffee, black tea, colas and energy drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic and triggers more urination, which can lead to dehydration.
, Your surgical care team will do what they can to keep you warm during and after surgery. Back in your room, keep yourself comfortably warm. Staying warm helps with blood circulation and allows your injured cells to get much-needed oxygen and nutrients.
Get a family member to bring a comfortable blanket from home — just make sure they wash / clean it thoroughly beforehand.
Keeping a hot water bottle or heated herbal bag under the covers can keep you nice and warm and promote sleep.
, Once you’re able to, getting out of your hospital bed for some mild exercise (walking around and light calisthenics) is an excellent way to speed up your recovery and get well quicker.Staying in your bed constantly and not moving will keep you weak, stagnate circulation and increase your risk of blood clots and bed sores.When you feel up to it, ask your nurse or family member to help you up and walk with you to a common area. Use a cane or other support if you need to.
If you have to spend lots of time in a hospital bed, ask for special pads that help prevent bedsores and “pneumatic” stockings that help prevent blood clots.
For every day you spend in a hospital bed, it may require 4-5 days of movement after you leave the hospital to fully recover.So get moving before you leave the hospital, if possible.
You may also need to do some physical therapy while you are still in the hospital and possibly after you are discharged as well.
, It may seem strange that people should actively make the decision to get well, but many people have negative subconscious thoughts that can reduce the healing process.People can fall into a victim mentality, feel guilty for surviving and/or actually enjoy the attention from being ill, at least unconsciously, which gives their body mixed messages. As such, make the conscious decision that you truly want to get well and recover from your disease or condition.
Focusing on not wanting to be sick, rather than getting well, is not as powerful in convincing your mind / body to heal.
Use visualization to picture how your body might be killing off an infection or defeating cancer.
Whisper to yourself in positive words how you want to get well quickly and be healthy throughout your time in the hospital.
, Doctors and other medical professionals are taught to use statistics for treatments and prognosis — which is essentially the experiences of others as predictors of how a patient will or will not improve. But those statistics are just a guideline and don’t have to be predictive of how you get well, heal or survive. As such, strive to be the exception and not the mean (average) of the stats. For example, if your doctor says one week is the average time to get well from your condition, then use positive thoughts and optimism to get that down to five days.Doctors used to avoid negatively framing medical information and instead gave “false” hope in order to capitalize on optimism, but fear of medical malpractice and litigation has changed that for the most part.
If you get bad news or a bleak outlook, it is important to balance hopefulness with realistic expectations. Ask lots of questions and find out as much as you can about your treatment options.
, Fear, anger, pessimism and other negative thoughts are linked to greater risk of diseases and reduced ability to heal, so combat those feelings and thoughts with optimism.Try to face your fears of dying and dissipate your anger for being ill. Look to the bright side and try to make “lemonade out of lemons” as the saying goes.
Surround yourself with positive things. Turn off the news and don’t watch violent, depressing TV shows. Watch inspiring comedy and educational programs. Listen to uplifting music.
Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include: reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, greater resistance to the common cold, lower rates of depression and increased life span.