Being a Safe Patient
Programs are in place to set the quality standards needed to accomplish this goal, and these safety programs are constantly reviewed and improved. We always monitor our patients who are at risk for falls, are diligent in implementing guidelines to reduce the risk of hospital acquired infections, and have the appropriate checks in place to best improve medical accuracy. All of these, as well as many other protocols, are here to give everyone the best overall patient experience.
Recognizing the importance of patient safety, we would like to share some tips on how you can play a role in your safety while you or someone you love is in the hospital. We believe that by educating the community on patient safety, we can all work together to make every patient stay a safe one. The following are ways you can help our care team:
Know Your Medications – Prior to an office visit with your physician or your pre-surgical consultation with your surgeon before any surgery, always make a list of the medications you are taking, and also include dosage of the medication, any supplements you are taking and any drug allergies you may have. Especially in an emergency, carry this list in your wallet or purse. It will help the emergency department to provide the right care. In addition, anytime a nurse or physician gives you medication, confirm that it is correct.
Before Surgery – The surgeons and surgical staff should review all aspects of what you can expect during and immediately after surgery. In the pre-operative prepping for surgery, ask your physician to mark the surgical site with a pen while you are awake to confirm the area. Also, ask what antibiotics or drugs will be used during or after surgery to minimize the risk of infection and blood clots. Most importantly, if you sense something is wrong or if you don't understand something that is being done, speak up and let the medical team know.
Preventing Infections – While in the hospital, it is extremely important to avoid any unnecessary risk of infection. Anyone who examines you should wash their hands first and have a clean stethoscope. Catheters should not be left in any longer than necessary and anytime a central line or IV is inserted, ask whether the hospital is following sterile procedures.
Prevent Bedsores – During your recovery and if you have an extended stay in the hospital, have the medical team change your position every two hours and check for redness or sores on the skin to detect ulcers early. It is also advisable for many patients to have a pillow between their knees and ankles to avoid skin-to-skin contact or to place the pillow under the heels if lying on the back. At East Jefferson, our hospital beds are specially equipped to help reduce the risk of bedsores.
The safest patient is one who engages the medical professionals treating them. Every effort at every level is made to safely transition each patient from the hospital to their home so they can return to their normal life.
Additional resources and recommendations on making your hospital visit a safe experience: