Patient Safety

Patient Safety - Get Involved!

We urge you and your family to become part of our patient safety team. For our patient safety program to be truly effective, we need you to be fully informed and actively involved in your care.

What does your involvement in patient safety mean to you and your family?

  • It means we need you to provide detailed information about your condition.
  • It means that you should clearly understand your diagnosis and treatment plan and know what to expect.
  • It means keeping us informed of any changes in your condition, good or bad, such as an allergic reaction to a drug.
  • It means we want you to speak up when you have a question about any aspect of your care.

We want you to become a partner in the development of a safe care plan. Your active involvement will help us consistently do the right thing at the right time for the right person – you.

Patient Safety Tips

  • When you get a prescription, make sure you know what it is for and what the side effects might be. Make sure your doctor knows what allergies or problems you have had with medicines. If you have a test, ask about the results. If they don’t seem right, speak to your doctor.
  • Make sure your doctor knows about all the medications you take. This includes prescriptions, medications you bought at a store, and things like vitamins and herbs.
  • Write down questions for your doctor before your visit and think about bringing a friend or family member with you.

It’s your health. If you have questions, ask them. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you have doubts or concerns: Speak up! This will allow your healthcare providers an opportunity to better assist you.

We want you to understand your treatment plan and why we have chosen it for you. Involve your loved ones: Keep your loved ones informed about your care plan. Better yet, ask a family member to assist you in understanding and carrying out your care plan.

Make sure you and your caregivers are clear about what medications you take:

Be sure to tell your caregivers what medications you are taking, including non-prescription medications, vitamins and herbal remedies. When you receive a prescription, make sure it is the right medication and the right dose.

Be sure to keep your list up to date! Infection: Don't pass it on! : Did you know that each year, many lives and millions of dollars are lost due to the spread of infections in hospitals? Don't be afraid to remind friends, family and healthcare providers to wash and sanitize their hands before coming into direct contact with you.

Remember what our parents used to tell us before crossing the street? Before you proceed: "stop, look and listen." Our parents' aim was to involve us in making the right decision. They didn’t want us to be harmed because we were caught off guard.

Patient safety can be that simple for you and your family…

  • Stop and learn the facts about your condition and your medications.
  • Look carefully through your care plan with us so that we all fully understand and concur on its course.
  • Listen closely to what you'll need to do to continue your care plan at home.

Above all, be proactive! Let us know if you feel the need to vary your care plan. Explain why. We'll listen.

Bottom line: As a well-informed patient, you can help us create a safer healthcare system.

Additional safety information to remember -
While you are our patient, we ask that you observe the following:

  • Don’t hesitate to tell the healthcare professional if you think he or she has confused you with another patient.
  • Notice whether your caregivers have washed their hands. Hand washing is the most important way to prevent the spread of infections. Don’t be afraid to gently remind a doctor or nurse to do this.
  • Ask your doctor about the specialized training and experience that qualifies him or her to treat your illness (and be sure to ask the same questions of those physicians to whom he or she refers you).
  • Thoroughly read all medical forms and make sure you understand them before you sign anything. If you don’t understand, ask your doctor or nurse to explain them.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the operation of any equipment that is being used in your care. If you will be using oxygen at home, do not smoke or allow anyone to smoke near you while oxygen is in use.
  • Review consents for treatment with your advocate before you sign them and make sure you both understand exactly what you are agreeing to.
  • Ask about the health care organization’s experience in treating your type of illness. How frequently do they perform the procedure you need and what specialized care do they provide in helping patients get well?
  • Before you leave the hospital or other facility, ask about follow-up care and make sure that you understand all of the instructions.
  • Go to Quality Check at www.jcaho.org to find out whether your hospital or other health care organization is accredited.
  • Understand that more tests or medications may not always be better. Ask your doctor what a new test or medication is likely to achieve.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion. If you are unsure about the nature of your illness and the best treatment, consult with one or two additional specialists. The more information you have about the options available to you, the more confident you will be in the decisions made.
  • Ask to speak with others who have undergone the procedure you are considering. These individuals can help you prepare for the days and weeks ahead. They also can tell you what to expect and what worked best for them as they recovered.
  • Any faulty equipment should be reported to a staff member.
  • Please do not bring personal electrical equipment with you. If you have a special need, please discuss with your nurse.
  • Do not go off the unit with anyone who is not wearing a badge. Expect to see an identification badge. Ask healthcare workers their names and titles, if they do not introduce themselves.

More on Medications

When you are admitted you will need to give your nurse a list of the medications you are taking, including the dose and times. The nurse will review these medications with the physician who will make a decision on which medications you should continue to take during your hospitalization. Please send home any medications that you may have brought with you. Any medication, including over-the-counter herbal remedies, can potentially interfere or interact with tests or medicines ordered for your treatment.

  • If you think you are about to receive the wrong medicine tell your nurse or doctor.
  • If you do not recognize an oral medication ask before taking it. If you are being given an IV ask the nurse how long it should last and tell the nurse if it is going to run out.
  • Tell your nurse and doctor about any medication you are taking at home, including vitamins, herbal supplements, prescription and nonprescription medications.
  • Make sure you tell your nurse and doctor if you have any allergies or negative reactions to medications or foods or latex sensitivity.
  • Know the time of day you should receive your medicine and if it is missed or late tell your nurse.
  • Ask about the purpose of the medication and ask for written information about it, including its brand and generic names. Also inquire about the side effects of the medication. on whether you have advance directives. You can expect that we will honor the intent of that directive to the extent permitted by law and hospital policy.

Speak Up Initiatives

The Joint Commission's award-winning patient safety program

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