Washington Hospital Quality
A service of the Washington State Hospital Association

Patient Tip

Follow the guidance and instructions of your rehabilitation team post-surgery. The more you follow their advice, the faster you will recover.

Patient Tip

For the first few weeks after surgery, it is important to do things that will decrease your swelling and improve your range of motion. Movement is crucial, so do something every day that will make you better.

Patient Tip

Some tests, medications and procedures ordered may not be necessary and even cause harm. Ask your doctor if what they are ordering is necessary or if there are any alternatives.  Learn more about Choosing Wisely.

Patient Tip

More is not always better. Research shows that some tests and procedures may not be necessary. Learn more about Choosing Wisely.

Patient Tip

Talking about end of life decisions is not always comfortable and many times it’s a topic people simply avoid altogether. But, it is important to have the conversation to avoid confusion about what YOU want –learn more at theconversationproject.org

Patient Tip

You may receive a satisfaction survey after you have visited a health care setting. This survey is important to those who have sent it because it gets your perspective on care and gives valuable feedback.

Patient Tip

Back pain is often very painful, however, getting an MRI, x-ray or CT scan often does not get you the kind of help you may need. Read more about back pain and imaging tests at choosingwisely.org

Patient Tip

If you receive a survey asking about your experience in a health care setting, be honest and give specific examples of your experience, both positive and negative. 

Patient Tip

Strokes can cause memory problems, paralysis, or loss of speech. Getting the right care at the right time can help reduce the risk of complications and another stroke. 

Patient Tip

Don’t be afraid to ask why you need an indwelling bladder catheter before one is inserted. Catheters can cause bacteria to enter the body and cause a urinary tract infections (UTI). 

Patient Tip

Monitor your weight daily and watch for weight gain. Rapid weight gain could be a sign of fluid retention. Low salt diet (<2g/day) and take medication as prescribed.

Patient Tip

Before leaving the hospital or doctor office, make sure you understand all of the instructions and what symptoms to look for if getting worse. Ask for information in writing so you can refer to it later.

Patient Tip

Before giving you medications, your nurse should tell you the purpose and the possible side effects of the medicine. If you’re not sure why you are being given medications, be sure to ask!

Patient Tip

Anticoagulant medicines, or blood thinners, make the blood less able to clot. Take medications as prescribed to prevent a clot after surgery.

Patient Tip

For the first 4-6 weeks after surgery, avoid any activity that could pull apart your incision. That includes not moving or lifting anything more than 5 pounds.

Patient Tip

When leaving the hospital, follow the discharge instructions closely. Patients are commonly instructed to avoid baths, scrubbing/rubbing the incision sites, lotions (unless prescribed), and too much sunlight.

Patient Tip

Knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol (and which ones don't) can help you make better food choices and lower your risk of heart disease.

Patient Tip

You don’t expect emergencies to happen, so be prepared in case it does. Have an updated list of medications with you at all times with the medication name, dose and frequency.

Patient Tip

Take your pain medicine as prescribed, and remember that there is often a delay before pain medication starts to work. Don’t wait for your pain to be intolerable; take it when you start getting uncomfortable. Keep your doctor informed of your pain and medication levels.

Patient Tip

It is important to make sure your doctor knows all of your medications. Find out which medications you should continue taking and which ones you should stop prior to surgery.

Patient Tip

Major surgery, such as joint replacement, may require a blood transfusion. Some patients chose to use their own blood; you can discuss your options with your physician.

Patient Tip

Do not let family or friends touch your dressing or surgical wound area, and make sure they wash their hands when they come to see you.

Patient Tip

Avoid using a razor to shave the area where you will be having surgery, and don’t be afraid to stop someone from using a razor to shave your surgical site. This can cause skin irritation and make it easier to get an infection. Follow your physician’s guidelines about getting ready for surgery.

Patient Tip

Is the emergency room the right place for you? Read more about how to decide.

Patient Tip

Sometimes people feel helpless when they’re going into the hospital, but you don’t have to. Talk to your physicians and visit our Patient Resource page for information about how you can prepare for your visit.

Patient Tip

Influenza (flu) kills thousands of people a year. Help protect yourself and your loved ones by being immunized, and ask nurses, physicians and the other people on your care team if they’ve had their flu shots. 

Patient Tip

If you have a chronic disease like asthma, diabetes or hypertension, find out how you can get connected with primary care so that you don’t need to visit the ER as often.

Patient Tip

Patients can make their surgery and their recovery more successful by doing everything they can to control their blood sugar. Ask your doctor how best to manage your diet and blood sugar before surgery.

Patient Tip

There’s a strong relationship between patient satisfaction and patient safety—patients who feel they are in a safe, caring environment are often right.

Patient Tip

When possible, it’s better for babies to be carried to term—those last few weeks in the womb are important for their development. Ask your doctor.

Patient Tip

Having a family or friend be a designated care advocate can help you communicate better with your medical care team and can ensure you get better, faster.

Patient Tip

You may meet many different care providers. It’s okay to ask each of them to introduce themselves and explain their role to you.

Patient Tip

Get involved in your care. Ask your care providers what you can do to prevent infections.

Patient Tip

Do not be afraid to remind doctors, nurses and other health care staff about washing their hands before working with you.

Patient Tip

Avoid using salt at the table or in cooking. Remove the salt shaker — you'll be less likely to use it. Try spices, herbs, and other seasonings instead of salt to flavor foods.

Patient Tip

"Time is muscle" means that if you wait too long to treat a heart attack, there could be permanent damage to your heart. Seek treatment for any signs of a heart attack, such as chest or jaw pain or shortness of breath.

Patient Tip

Choosing your care provider and place of birth are two of the most important maternity decisions you will make. Be sure you are informed about all of your options.

Patient Tip

Get involved in your care. Ask your care providers if you are risk for falling in the hospital.

Patient Tip

Get involved in your care. Ask your care providers whether new prescriptions will interfere with your current medications.

Patient Tip

Monitor and tell your doctor what triggers your child's asthma symptoms, and what makes them go away. Knowing the family history and environment is also important to controlling asthma attacks.

Patient Tip

If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, be sure to follow the directions exactly, and take the whole course—even after you start to feel better.