Each year, millions of Americans seek hospital care to treat a wide range of medical problems — from accidental injuries to chronic or life-threatening illnesses. While the majority of patients have positive outcomes, it is imperative to remember patient safety should be a top priority for everyone. You can take steps to help ensure your safety whether in the hospital for a planned or unexpected circumstance. Here are three things to keep in mind to make your hospital stay as safe as possible:
Reduce infection risks
Hospital infections are a top concern, especially for surgical patients. According to the World Health Organization, hand hygiene is the single most important measure to reduce health-care-related infections. Patients should keep hand sanitizer at their bedside and use it often. Additionally, the National Patient Safety Foundation recommends:
– Reminding your care team about hand-washing before any direct interaction.
– Keeping an eye on intravenous catheters and wound dressings, and notifying your health care provider right away if something looks wrong.
– Taking charge of health problems such as diabetes, excess weight and smoking, which can increase infection risk in the hospital.
– Following doctors’ directions about breathing treatments to avoid lung infections.
Be aware of setbacks
While unpredictable progress in recovery is not unusual, it’s important to minimize the risk of avoidable setbacks such as falls and readmissions.
Tumbles are a major concern for the elderly, but even younger patients are at risk of falling in the hospital. NPSF often points to research indicating more than 500,000 falls occur in U.S. hospitals each year, causing 150,000 injuries. Muscle weakness, medication-related impairment and age can increase a patient’s risk of falling. Follow your physician’s directions and the hospital’s procedures for surer footing.
Before you leave the hospital, make sure you understand the doctor’s after-care instructions to reduce your risk of readmission. Bring any questions or suspicions of complications to follow-up appointments to help your physician assess your recovery.
New research shows that a simple breath test that analyzes the chemical signature of a patient’s exhaled breath could help detect stomach cancer, according to the British Journal of Cancer. Scientists from China and Israel, who worked on the study, hope the test will offer an easier alternative to an endoscopy, where a doctor inserts a tube down a patient’s throat. The nanomaterial sensors, used to detect biomarkers of cancer in the patient’s breath, are 90 percent effective at distinguishing patients with cancer from patients with other stomach complaints. The sensors also ahd a 90 percent success rate at distinguishing late stage stomach cancer from early stage. While more testing and development is needed before the breath test can become widely available, researchers call the developments “promising” and “encouraging,” and plan to use the sensors in a multi-clinic trial.
Plyometric workouts have long been known as one of the most efficient and effective ways to train, because they simultaneously burn calories and build muscle. Plyometrics or plyos are a type of exercise that encourages muscle development, power, speed and endurance. Plyos include anything that involves jumping. Start with something less complicated like picking up a jump rope, skipping or high knees. Gradually add squat jumps, split lunge jumps or box jumps. Even try good old-fashioned burpees. Youll see gains in strength and confidence in no time.
— Life Fitness
Number to Know
49: Percentage of Americans who believe carrots are the best food for eye health, according to the American Optometric Association. While carrots do contain nutritional value by supplying beta-carotene, which is essential for night vision, spinach and other dark, leafy greens are the healthiest foods for eyes because they naturally contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Thirty million (or one out of four) Americans age 40 and older suffer from some level of vision loss. Yet only 30 percent of Americans indicate they incorporate specific foods or supplements into their diet to help improve eye health and vision, according to the American Optometric Association’s American Eye-Q survey, which assesses public knowledge and understanding of a wide range of issues related to eye and visual health.
Six nutrients — antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin; essential fatty acids; vitamins C and E; and the mineral zinc – have been identified as helping to protect eyesight and promote eye health. Since the body doesn’t make these nutrients naturally, it’s important to incorporate them into a daily diet and, in some cases, supplement with vitamins.
Consuming a variety of the following foods can help protect your eyes for the future:
1. Lutein and zeaxanthin: To help reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), eat one cup of colorful fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, corn, green beans, peas, oranges and tangerines four times a week.
2. Essential fatty acids: Studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids such as flax or fleshy fish like tuna, salmon, or herring, whole grain foods, lean meats and eggs may help protect against AMD and dry eye.
3. Vitamin C: Fruits and vegetables, including oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers and tomatoes, can help minimize the risk of cataracts and AMD.
4. Vitamin E: Vegetable oils, such as safflower or corn oil, almonds, pecans, sweet potatoes, and sunflower seeds are powerful antioxidants that can slow the progression of AMD and cataract formation.
5. Zinc: A deficiency of zinc can result in poor night vision and lead to cataracts; therefore, consuming red meat, poultry, liver, shellfish, milk, baked beans, and whole grains on a daily basis is important.
GateHouse News Service
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