For Patients and Families

The Mod­ern Hos­pi­tal Maze

Today’s hos­pi­tals are an ocean of para­dox and com­plex­i­ty. Los­ing one’s bear­ings is almost inevitable.  Los­ing a loved one to avoid­able med­ical errors should not be.

Hos­pi­tals are fund­ed by tax­pay­ers, health­care con­sumers, insur­ance com­pa­nies and employ­ers. But as The Cen­ter for Patient Pro­tec­tion and oth­ers have observed, they fre­quent­ly lack the trans­paren­cy and account­abil­i­ty nec­es­sary to facil­i­tate informed deci­sions by those who use and pay for their ser­vices.

They speak a lan­guage that is for­eign to almost every­one. Armies of pro­fes­sion­als and bureau­crats seem more inter­est­ed in main­tain­ing a moat of bewil­der­ment and com­plex­i­ty that places the sys­tem far beyond the reach of its ordi­nary users and pay­ers instead of fash­ion­ing an invit­ing bridge of acces­si­bil­i­ty and warmth. Some­times it’s even hard to know who does what in the hos­pi­tal. Is that per­son com­ing into my mother’s room a nurse? A res­i­dent? A spe­cial­ist? Or are they going to clean the bath­room? Exhaus­tion is nev­er far away when a fam­i­ly is tak­ing their respon­si­bil­i­ties for the care and pro­tec­tion of a loved-one seri­ous­ly. The expe­ri­ence can be daunt­ing.

Hos­pi­tals are part of a heal­ing sys­tem, but many who inter­act with them fre­quent­ly describe expe­ri­ences that reflect an aston­ish­ing lack of com­pas­sion and respect. This is espe­cial­ly true of patients and fam­i­lies who have suf­fered med­ical errors and harm.

The Per­ilous Hos­pi­tal Jour­ney

And here’s anoth­er real­ly big para­dox: We turn to hos­pi­tals in the hope of get­ting bet­ter. Many of us do, and we can be very thank­ful about that. But, too often, the very oppo­site hap­pens. Hos­pi­tal harm claims the lives of up to 500,000 patients in the U.S. and Cana­da every year. That’s more than 1,000 avoid­able deaths every day. Count­less oth­ers are injured and even per­ma­nent­ly dis­abled. Fam­i­lies are thrust into life-changing trau­mas they nev­er saw com­ing. These expe­ri­ences can car­ry dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences for their health, finances and careers.  What is even more trou­bling is the inescapable fact that most of this harm is entire­ly avoid­able.

The pages on this site are intend­ed to help pro­vide patients and fam­i­lies the infor­ma­tion they need to ensure more pos­i­tive out­comes as they nav­i­gate the health­care sys­tem and, par­tic­u­lar­ly, its hos­pi­tal set­ting.

Learn about the prin­ci­ples behind our cam­paign to make Patient Pro­tec­tion 1stSM. Insist that your health­care providers fol­low them. Click on the links at the side to become informed, engaged and pro­tect­ed in your hos­pi­tal jour­ney.  They can make a big dif­fer­ence in the qual­i­ty of that expe­ri­ence for both patients and fam­i­lies. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three things all patients and fam­i­lies need to do to ensure safer care and pos­i­tive hos­pi­tal out­comes.

 Become Informed

 

 Become Engaged

 

 Become Pro­tect­ed