What Patients Can Do to Enhance Quality and Safety
Everyone has a role in making health care safe and of high quality. As a patient, you play an important role in working with your caregivers to enhance safety and quality. Things you and your family can do include:
Take an active role in your healthcare.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment
- Provide accurate information to members of the healthcare team
- Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor and nurse, and use other reliable sources
- Ask staff to explain what they are doing and why to make sure you understand your plan of care
Always speak up if you have any questions or concerns.
Don’t ever feel as though you are asking too many questions. Ask as many questions as you need in order to make sure you understand what is going on. If you are unable to ask questions yourself, ask a trusted family member or friend to ask questions on your behalf.
Know what medications you take and why you take them.
Make sure your physician knows what medications you are currently taking. This includes prescription and over the counter medications, and dietary supplements such as vitamins or herbs.
- Make a list of your medications (prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal supplements, etc.).
- Carry this list with you at all times and make sure it is with you when you visit your doctor’s office or come to the hospital.
- As your medications change, make sure your list is updated to reflect these changes.
- If hospitalized and you do not recognize a medication, ask what the medication is and make sure it was ordered for you. If the medication doesn’t look like what you usually take, ask why you are taking it.
- Make sure your care team knows about any allergies you may have had to medications.
Protect yourself from infection.
- Ask any caregivers who comes in direct contact with you, "have you washed your hands?"
- Wash your hands frequently
- If hospitalized, have your visitors wash their hands before coming in contact with you. Ask visitors who have an infection, even a cold, to not visit you.
Consider preparing health care advance directives (power of attorney for health care or living will) in advance of coming to the hospital.
If hospitalized, please bring copies to the hospital.
If hospitalized, do what you can to prevent falling.
- Follow the instructions you have been given about getting out of bed and walking
- Keep important items within reach – this includes your call light button
- Use your call light if you need help. If you feel dizzy, weak or lightheaded do not get up by yourself.
- The side rails are put up for your safety. Do not try to climb over them or around them.
- When you are getting out of bed, rise slowly and sit at the side of the bed before standing. Dangle your legs before you stand. Stand up slowly. #19910176
- Use only non-moving objects to help steady yourself. Do not use your IV pole, tray table, wheelchair or other objects that move.
- If you are in the bathroom and need assistance or become weak, use the call light on the bathroom wall.
- Use the handrails in the bathroom and hallways.
- Wear shoes or non-skid slippers every time you get out of bed.
- If you usually wear glasses or a hearing aid, be sure to wear them when you get out of bed.