Everyone has an important role in making healthcare safe - Hospital staff, physicians, patients, and families.
Strong partnerships between patients and caregivers greatly improve safety and quality of care. Research shows that patients who take part in healthcare decisions are more likely to have better outcomes.
We hope the following information will help you to be a more active partner in your healthcare safety.
It is almost impossible for any place to be free of germs - including hospitals. There are, however, ways you can partner with your caregivers to minimize the presence of germs while at the Hospital.
For example, it's okay to expect and ask:
- Family members, friends, and other visitors with colds or contagious illnesses not to visit while you are hospitalized.
- Healthcare staff to wash their hands or wear gloves before examining you or giving you medications.
- For a clean gown or bed linens if needed.
- To receive an influenza vaccine during flu season and/or a pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine at any time.
Medication erros are the most common healthcare mistake in US hospitals.
To help prevent medication errors, you can:
- Make sure your physician knows about all the medications you are taking (including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, dietary or herbal supplements, and vitamins).
- Tell staff about any allergies or reactions you have had to medicines.
- Make sure you know the names of the medications that are being given to you.
- Ask for an explanation of your medications, including the purpose of the medication and side effects, before taking them.
- Make sure Hospital staff check your identification (ID) wristband for your name and date of birth before giving you medications. If you misplace your ID band, ask for a new one.
- Make sure you can read your prescription if your physician writes it by hand.
- Never share your medications with others or take another person's medications.
Asking for help is the most important thing you (or your family members) can do to prevent a fall while at the Hospital.
Here are some tips to help eliminate the possibility of a fall:
- Keep your nurse call button within easy reach.
- If you need help to the bathroom, ask your caregiver for assistance. We are here to help you!
- Always wear slippers with rubber soles to protect against slipping.
- Keep your eyeglasses and other personal items within easy reach.
- Make sure there is enough light to see your way around.
- Ask anyone assisting with your care to clean up any spills on the floor.
- Tell your nurse if you are lightheaded or dizzy.
- Use grab bars and handrails in the bathroom and hall, as appropriate.
- When recommended, use cruthces, a walker, cane, or wheelchair.
You, as a patient, are the most important partner on the healthcare team! We encourage you to ask questions and take an active part in decisions about your treatment.
Here are a few things you can do to encourage good communication:
- You and your physician should agree on all decisions about your care. Know what your plan of care is, how long your treatment will probably take, and what you should expect when you leave the Hospital.
- Make sure Hospital staff members confirm who you are by checking your ID wristband before giving a mediation or performing a procedure.
- Tell your nurse or another staff member if something doesn't feel right.
- Ask how your tests or treatments will help you.
- Ask about your test results and what those results mean.
- Ask anyone who does not introduce themselves to identify themselves and their role to you. Staff will be wearing a Hospital name badge.
- Write down any questions that you want to ask your physician or healthcare team.
- If you have questions about your recovery, talk with your healthcare providers.
- If you have a concern about safety while stayin in the Hospital, share your concern with your healthcare providers as soon as possible. You may also ask to speak to the Director of the Department or call the Patient Feedback Line (734-593-5375) or Recipient Rights Office (734-593-6160).
What Else to Expect at the Hospital
- Being asked several times about allergies and medication history.
- Interrupted sleep (unfortunately necessary) to check your blood pressure, pulse, etc.
- Strange noises and alarms from equipment - ask about unfamiliar equipment.
- A change in when you normally take your medications. You may take a medication at 9 a.m. at home, but you may receive it slightly earlier or later in the Hospital.
- Caregivers need to know where you are at all times. For this reason, patients are expected to remain on their units or notify staff before leaving, even if only for a short time.
- Nicotine replacement aids are available if you smoke; please ask your healthcare provider for more information.
When You Go Home
- We want to work with you and your family to prepare you for your care after the Hospital.
- Share any concerns about Hospital after-care with your healthcare providers.
- Review and make sure you understand the "Discharge Instructions" given to you before you leave. Ask questions to ensure a safe transition.
- You will be given information for follow-up visits if needed.
- If you believe you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911 for emergency care and treatment.
- Continue to see your primary care physician and/or specialist as recommended.
Thank you for Partnering in Patient Safety with us!