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Hospital Admissions (cont.)

Treatment

You should be involved in any decisions that may affect your care. Discuss with your doctor any planned treatments, including the following:

  • Medications
  • Invasive procedures
  • Surgeries
    • Ask how effective the treatment usually is, that is, how significant an effect you can expect. (For example, will the treatment cure cancer or just slow the disease? How much pressure reduction will a certain blood pressure medication provide?)
    • Ask what side effects there will be and how severe they will be.
  • Cost of the treatment
  • Alternative treatments, if available
  • You can request a second opinion if you have concerns (you may not be covered by insurance and the second doctor may feel tests need repeating, so you should be aware a second opinion may involve a complete "second" work-up. There is no guarantee that a second opinion will be different from the first.
  • How long your treatment will need to be extended once discharged, and how that will be accomplished

Informed consent documents should give you the information you need to determine if you want certain practices or procedures to be performed on you. By signing these documents, you state that you understand what is being done to you, including the risks, benefits, and alternative procedures or treatments. Whenever you are asked to sign an informed consent, be sure you do the following:

  • Read the informed consent documents carefully.
  • Ask that anything you don't understand be explained fully.
  • Make sure it lists these details:
    • If you are being enrolled in research
    • The name of the physician(s) who will perform the procedure or administer the treatment
    • The risks and benefits
    • Alternative treatments, if available
    • What will be done with any bodily tissue fluids
    • What will be done with any photos or video, if taken

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