Mental Health Awareness


The Patient As Advocate
March 22, 2009, 12:01 pm
Filed under: awareness, Education | Tags: , , , ,
Stand Up, Speak Up – Getting the Best Care for Yourself
Everyone has a role in providing the best health care for you – organizational executives, physicians, therapists, nurses and technicians. And, above all, YOU! You do this by becoming an active, informed, and involved consumer and member of the health care team. 

Medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with almost 98,000 occurring annually according to the Institute of Medicine. The more involved we are, the less likely we are to have an adverse reaction. Ways to do this include

Speaking up if you have any questions or concerns, and ask again if you still dont understand. It is your body and you have the right to know.

Pay Attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you are getting the right medications, for instance. Don’t assume anything. 

Educate Yourself about your diagnosis, any medical tests or procedures you will have done, and be an active participant in determining your treatment plan.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to be an advocate for you that can ask questions you may not think of under stress, and may not remember the answers to.

Know what medications you take and why you take them. Know their side-effects, and how long the side-effects should last if you are just beginning a medication. Learn if there is anything you can do to alleviate the side-effects. Medication errors are the most common health care mistake.

Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

After following these general rules, more specifically, try to:

Inform your doctors about medications your are taking, including prescriptions, over the counter drugs, and herbal or dietary supplements.

Inform your doctors about your allergies any any adverse reactions you may have experienced

Inform your doctors of any dietary restrictions you may have

Ask your staff for written information about possible side effects to your medications

Be an advocate of your own care. Ask your friend or relative to also be your patient advocate

Question your nurse, doctor, or pharmacist if your medications look different from the way they looked before, or if the number of medications is different

Learn about your condition by asking your doctor, nurse, therapist, or any other reliable sourse any questions you may have regarding your illness

Make sure that your prescriptions are legible

If you are in the hospital, when you are discharged if you have any questions regarding your treatment plan to be used at home, ask your doctors or staff for an explanation.

Finally, discuss any concerns you have with your caregiver in an assertive (not aggressive) manner.

Source
 
 

 

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Grading The States

NEW REPORT CARD: NATION’S MENTAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

 National Average is a D 14 States Improve Grades; 12 Fall Backwards State Budget Crises Threaten Ruin Washington, D.C. – The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has released a new report, Grading the States, assessing the nation’s public mental health care system for adults and finding that the national average grade is a D.

Fourteen states improved their grades since NAMI’s last report card three years ago. Twelve states fell backwards. Oklahoma showed the greatest improvement in the nation, rising from a D to a B. South Carolina fell the farthest, from a B to a D. However, the report comes at a time when state budget cuts are threatening mental health care overall.

“Mental health care in America is in crisis,” said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. “Even states that have worked hard to build life-saving, recovery-oriented systems of care stand to see their progress wiped out.” “Ironically, state budget cuts occur during a time of economic crisis when mental heath services are needed even more urgently than before. It is a vicious cycle that can lead to ruin. States need to move forward, not retreat.”

This is the second report NAMI has published to measure progress in transforming what a presidential commission on mental health called “a system in shambles.” NAMI’s grades for 2009 include six Bs, 18 Cs, 21 Ds and six Fs, based on 65 specific criteria such as access to medicine, housing, family education, and support for National Guard members.

“Too many people living with mental illness end up hospitalized, on the street, in jail or dead,” Fitzpatrick said. “We need governors and legislators willing to make investments in change.”

In 2006, the national average was D. Three years later, it has not budged. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

Full Grading the States report online at: http://www.nami.org/grades09