Campaign Zero: Patient Advocates on Your Side When It Matters Most
Imagine that while your loved one was in the hospital for a routine procedure, they became infected with a dangerous and life changing disease due to negligence. Imagine for a moment the horror and dismay you would feel.
This is not as far-fetched as you might think. One in every three patients needlessly suffers from preventable “adverse events” after hospitalization, including medication mix-ups, falls, blood clots, bed sores, sepsis, MRSA, staph, and other infections. Sometimes, these cases are so severe that patients die.
With this knowledge, the CampaignZERO.org group decided to help other families learn what to expect and what to do to get the best possible care for the people they love. Founded by Karen Curtiss, their guiding vision is that “To all the world, you are just one person. But to one person, you could mean the world.”
This group grew from her personal experiences navigating the healthcare system for her family. Some of those experiences were successful, and some were not. She knew that if she had been better informed to be an advocate for her loved ones that they would have had better medical outcomes. This lit a fire within her, and Campaign Zero was born to help people learn how to advocate, and become Care Partners for their loved ones.
Care Partners at the Hospital
As your loved one’s advocate, there are many things you can do to ensure they have quality care while hospitalized. Here are some tips to make going to the hospital a safer and better experience:
1. Get a health guide checklist
Whether from CampaignZERO.org, from the Doctella smartphone app, or from our own guide, find a checklist to help guide you through the process. Take these checklists to all your doctor appointments. They cover over 1000 procedures and tests and prompt you with all the questions you need to ask, especially if surgery is recommended. When you go to get a second opinion, they help you make sure you are comparing “apples to apples.” They will help empower you to make the best decision for you or your loved one’s body and health.
2. Do your research
- Find the best hospitals and doctors. Check their ratings and compare the reviews on both HospitalSafetyGrade.org and Medicare’s HospitalCompare.
- Research the procedure and the side effects so you know what should and should not be happening.
- If you want more information or are looking for recommendations, connect with us at ValuesBasedPA.com or call us at 703-222-1300. A phone call only takes a moment, is free, and could save you thousands of dollars.
3. Pack a hospital bag
Your loved one may be focused on preparing for their procedure, so help them out by making sure they have all the necessities for their stay.
- Pack items that will make the stay more comfortable, like light clothes (avoid snaps and long gowns), a bathrobe, sturdy non-skid slippers or shoes, a pillow, and book or magazine to read.
- Include their personal toiletry items, like their own shampoo, soap, and toothbrush. Having their own items will help your loved one feel more at home while away from home. When a patient is comfortable and confident, there is a greater chance they will have a good hospital experience.
- Make an easy-to-access file of their personal ID and important documents, like recent imaging scans or test results; health insurance cards; and a copy of the power of attorney, living will, and/or advance directive (if applicable).
- Collect all prescription medications (in their original containers), as well as a list of the name and dosages of all other herbal and over the counter drugs regularly taken
Care Partners at Home
The need for help does not end when the patient leaves the hospital. A few years ago, a study at Yale confirmed that medication management at home is a mess! This is especially the case with the elderly who tends to have more medications to manage but have little or no help. By becoming informed and involved, family-members can become Care Partners to help avoid the results of these issues.