On behalf of Israel & Gerity, PLLC posted in Medical malpractice on Friday, March 1, 2013.

Checklists are powerful tools used to better ensure quality of patient care. However, not all hospitals and medical facilities use these guides at all levels of the healthcare process. They may employ surgical checklists but fail to use them in post-op, for example. And unfortunately, when steps get missed medical malpractice can occur.

Thankfully, concerned family members and friends of hospitalized patients are not powerless to prevent missed steps in patient care. Founder of Campaign Zero and author of “Safe & Sound in the Hospital: Must-Have Checklists and Tools for Your Loved One’s Care” Karen Curtiss is currently helping to empower loved ones by advocating that they make their own patient care checklists.

By creating a checklist based on knowledge made readily available by the public record, loved ones can help to ensure that their hospitalized friends or family members avoid infection, bed sores and a host of other dangerous conditions. Loved ones do not need to have extensive medical care knowledge to employ a checklist, but rather need to generally educate themselves about basic care practices.

For example, patients can lessen their chances of contracting hospital-acquired pneumonia if their beds are propped at a 30-degree angle. Asking the patient’s nurses to check the bed angle is an item that could appear on an easy to use checklist.

The Internet is a fantastic resource for patient care practices and many sample checklists are already available online. Though creating a checklist and following up on it may take a little time and effort, it may also help to save your loved one’s life.