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Choosing the right hospital

Finding the right hospital

The quality of the care you receive depends on more than the skills of your surgeon. Many health care providers are involved in your care.

The work of all staff in a hospital contributes to how well it is run. In turn, this affects your safety and the quality of care you will receive.

High-quality hospitals

More and more hospitals are being asked to report quality measures. These measures report on events that affect patient care. Some common measures include:

  • Falls and other patient injuries
  • Errors with medicines, such as receiving the wrong medicine
  • Complications, such as infections, blood clots, and skin ulcers

Hospitals receive scores for quality. The scores can give you an idea about how hard a hospital is trying to provide the best care.

Find out if your hospital is accredited by a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the quality and safety of health care.

  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO)
  • Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP)

Also, find out if your hospital is rated highly by state, consumer, or other groups.

  • Some states require hospitals to report data to them, and they may publish reports that compare hospitals.
  • Nonprofit groups in some areas or states work with businesses, doctors, and hospitals to gather data about quality.
  • The federal government gathers and reports data about hospitals. (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov). You can also find information about choosing the best doctor online.
  • Your insurance company may rate the weight-loss programs at different hospitals.

Choosing the best hospital for weight-loss surgery

Your hospital can do many things to improve your quality of care when you have weight-loss surgery. Find out if your hospital has:

  • A floor or unit dedicated to weight-loss surgery
  • Operating rooms used only for this type of surgery
  • A guideline to make sure everyone who has weight-loss surgery receives the type of care they need
  • Operating room and floor nursing staff who are trained in caring for weight loss surgery

Also find out how many weight-loss surgeries are done at the hospital you have chosen. Patients often do better at hospitals that do more of the same type of procedure.

Ask if your hospital is accredited by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP).

Does the hospital have a complete weight loss and bariatric program?

Find out if the hospital has a program that provides services to very obese patients. These services should include:

  • Specialized nursing care
  • Diet instructions and counseling
  • Support groups or referrals to them
  • Psychological or mental health evaluation and help

Before surgery, program staff should:

  • Do a complete medical and psychological evaluation
  • Review your weight-loss history, eating habits, and reasons for having surgery
  • Teach you about weight-loss surgeries, their risks, life after surgery, and the importance of follow-up care
  • Provide diet and exercise counseling and support

After surgery, the program should provide ongoing, easy-to-access, follow-up care:

  • By the bariatric surgeon or other health care staff trained to manage patients after weight-loss surgery
  • To watch for and treat complications, both those that occur soon after surgery as well as long-term
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Review Date: 1/30/2018

Reviewed By: John E. Meilahn, MD, Bariatric Surgery, Chestnut Hill Surgical Associates, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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