United for Patient SafetyMar 16, 2017
Did you know that you play a key role in your own healthcare? Research shows that patients who are engaged in their healthcare tend to have better outcomes. That’s why we encourage you to speak up.
Being admitted to the hospital can be an anxious time. If an illness or accident suddenly occurs, you might not even have time to prepare. The good news is that every single employee you come into contact with at the hospital is there to help you get better. They want things to go smoothly, and you should feel comfortable asking your doctors, nurses and other members of your care team questions about your condition and care plan, as well as discussing any concerns you may have.
Here are some tips for you to actively participate in your care:
- Make sure all of your patient identification information is correct.
- Before any test or procedure, make sure the staff confirms your patient identification.
- Let your care team know what medicines you currently take, whether prescription or over-the-counter.
- Make sure your doctor is aware of any allergies or negative reactions to medications.
- Ask about any new medication you are prescribed so that you understand what it is for. Before discharge, ask the following to ensure you take your medicines correctly:
- What is this medicine for?
- Do I need to take it at a certain time of day, with food, or on an empty stomach?
- Will this medication affect any other medications or supplements I take?
- Is there any food or activity I should avoid when taking this medication?
- What side effects are common?
- Ask all who enter your room – doctors, nurses, other staff, visitors – if they have washed their hands.
- If you are scheduled for surgery, discuss with your care team exactly what to expect. If you are having surgery on side of your body, either mark or ask your surgeon to mark that side of your body prior to the procedure.
- If you are unsure about something, ask, ask, ask… Your care team understands that you might not be familiar with medical terms and procedures. You should feel comfortable asking questions about any aspect of your care.
Most importantly, if something feels wrong or unsafe, let your doctor or nurse know right away. It may even help to keep a journal during your hospital stay. You can record how you feel at different points in your care and keep track of any questions or concerns that may arise.
If you’d like to learn more, visit www.npsf.org.