Steps to Safer Healthcare
- Ask questions and make sure you understand the answers.
- Ask the staff about hand washing. Illness can spread in hospitals when health care workers do not wash their hands or wear gloves. It is ok to ask anyone who touches you whether they have washed their hands.
- Take a relative or friend with you to help you ask questions and understand the answers.
Keep a list of all medicines that you take.
- Give the doctor and nurse a list of all the medicines that you take, including non-prescription and herbal medicines.
- Tell them about any drug allergies that you have.
- Ask about side effects of medications and what to avoid while taking the medicine.
- Make sure the medicine is what the doctor ordered.
- If your medicine looks different than what you are expecting, ask your nurse or doctor.
Get the results!
- Ask your doctor when you will get the results of a test or a procedure.
- Talk to your doctor about the results.
- Ask what the results mean for your care.
- Don’t assume the test is normal.
If you need surgery –
- Make sure you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree exactly what will be done during the operation.
- Ask your doctor, “Who will manage my care?” Sometimes, after surgery it might be necessary to move to a different room or unit.
- Ask your surgeon:
- Exactly what will you be doing?
- About how long will it take?
- What will happen after surgery?
- How can I expect to feel during recovery?
- Ask your surgeon:
- Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses about any allergies, bad reaction to anesthesia, and any medications you are taking.
Talk to your doctor about your healthcare needs.
- Sometimes it is necessary to be transferred to a different facility.
- Ask your doctor about which hospital has the best care and results for your condition.
- If you need home health or special needs after your hospitalization, you have the right to choose the provider. Be sure you understand the instructions you get about follow up care when you are discharged.
Ways to keep you and your family safe from medical errors.
Medical errors are mistakes that can happen with your health care. Pulaski Community Hospital, the Government, doctors and other health care workers are working hard to prevent medical errors. Here are some tips to use as you are discharged.
Be an active member of your healthcare team.
- Research shows that a lot of times doctors and nurses think their patients understand more than what they really do about what they should or should not do when they return home. Tell your doctor and other health care workers important things about your health like medications, allergies, past surgeries, past medical problems.
- Ask questions.
- Make decisions about your healthcare with them.
- Make sure you know how to take your medicine. Ask "What time of day should I take this medicine?" "How much medicine should I take?" "Do any foods, or other medicines that I am on interfere with my medicine?"
- Take all your medicine including any vitamin supplements and herbs that you are taking to your doctor's office on your next follow up visit. This will help your doctor make sure that any new medicine will not cause problems with what you already take. Remember, even though you have seen your doctor for years he/she sees many patients and it may be difficult for him/her to remember exactly what you are taking.
- Tell your doctor about any bad reactions that you have had to medicines. This can help you avoid getting a medicine that can hurt you.
- Read the label on the medicines when you pick them up from the drug store. Make sure you receive the drug your doctor has prescribed. If you have any questions about your medicine label be sure to ask your pharmacist.
- If you have a liquid medicine, be sure you know how much to take. Research shows that many people do not know the correct way to measure liquid medicine. For example many use household teaspoons, which often do not hold a true teaspoon of liquid. Special devices, like marked syringes, help people to measure the right dose. Being told how to use the device helps even more.
- Ask the drug store for written information about your medicine if they do not provide it for you.
Understand your discharge instructions.
- Make sure you understand about how soon you can get back to your regular activities.
- Make sure you understand about any special diet that you might be on.
- Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor or nurse and by using other resources.
- If you have had a test, don't assume that no news is good news. Ask about your results.
- You have a right to question anyone that is involved with your care, so don't be shy about speaking up!
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