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Advance Directives

What kind of medical care would you want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes? Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to spell out your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They give you a way to tell your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals and […]

Choosing a Doctor or Health Care Service

We all want high-quality health care, but it’s hard to know how to choose. There are many things to consider, including What your insurance covers Whether a health care provider or service is accredited The location of a service Hours that the service is available Whether you like a health care provider’s personality On this […]

End of Life Issues

Planning for the end of life can be difficult. But by deciding what end-of-life care best suits your needs when you are healthy, you can help those close to you make the right choices when the time comes. End-of-life planning usually includes making choices about the following: The goals of care (for example, whether to […]

Evaluating Health Information

Millions of consumers get health information from magazines, TV or the Internet. Some of the information is reliable and up to date; some is not. How can you tell the good from the bad? First, consider the source. If you use the Web, look for an “about us” page. Check to see who runs the […]

Health Literacy

Health literacy refers to how well a person can get the health information and services that they need, and how well they understand them. It is also about using them to make good health decisions. It involves differences that people have in areas such as Access to information that they can understand Skills, such as […]

Medical Ethics

The field of ethics studies principles of right and wrong. There is hardly an area in medicine that doesn’t have an ethical aspect. For example, there are ethical issues relating to End of life care: Should a patient receive nutrition? What about advance directives and resuscitation orders? Abortion: When does life begin? Is it ethical […]

Palliative Care

Palliative care is treatment of the discomfort, symptoms, and stress of serious illness. It provides relief from distressing symptoms including Pain Shortness of breath Fatigue Constipation Nausea Loss of appetite Problems with sleep It can also help you deal with the side effects of the medical treatments you’re receiving. Hospice care, care at the end […]

Patient Rights

As a patient, you have certain rights. Some are guaranteed by federal law, such as the right to get a copy of your medical records, and the right to keep them private. Many states have additional laws protecting patients, and healthcare facilities often have a patient bill of rights. An important patient right is informed […]

Patient Safety

You can help prevent medical errors by being an active member of your health care team. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results. To reduce the risk of medical errors, you can Ask questions if you have doubts or concerns. Take a relative or friend to […]

Personal Health Records

You’ve probably seen your chart at your doctor’s office. In fact, you may have charts at several doctors’ offices. If you’ve been in the hospital, you have a chart there, too. These charts are your medical records. They may be on paper or electronic. To keep track of all this information, it’s a good idea […]

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