Health care professionals are committed to providing the best care to their patients. Whether you or your family member or someone close to you visit or are admitted to the hospital, you can help to make the experience as safe as possible. Here are some tips to help you become an active partner in your health care team.
- Learn about your illness, treatment plan and care options.
- Ask your health professional and use the internet, your local library and support groups to find information.
- Understand your treatment options, tests and procedures and ask about the risks and benefits, so you can make informed decisions about your care.
- ASK your doctor to explain your condition so that you can understand
- ASK for details about procedures:
- Why do I need this test?
- What will it involve?
- What if I do not have this treatment?
- ASK if there have been any changes to your medication
TALK about your concerns
- TALK to your healthcare provider about previous treatments, procedures, medications or other health concerns
- TALK to your doctor about all medications you are taking, including herbal supplements and vitamins
- TALK to your doctor about any chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or allergies
LISTEN to the answers
- LISTEN to what the doctor is telling you; bring someone to listen with you and write down important information
- LISTEN and go over consent forms for treatment with a family member and ask your doctor to answer any questions you have before signing
- LISTEN carefully and follow all treatment and discharge instructions
Important safety tips for your hospital stay
Check Your Identity
- Wear your patient identification bracelet
- Check that the information is correct
- Make sure YOU are getting the right procedure by the right doctor and have been asked to give your name and date of birth
Wash Your Hands
- The best way to prevent the spread of infection
- Use hand sanitizers or soap and water.
- Ask your health care professionals if they have washed their hands before providing care.
- If you need assistance walking or getting out of bed, ask your nurse for help.
- When in bed make sure your call bell, phone and eyeglasses are in easy reach.
- Wear non-slip footwear.
Know Your Medications
- Keep a list of all your medications, know their names and why you are taking them.
- Understand the side effects an note any allergies or bad reactions to your medications.
About Your Discharge, Before you leave the hospital:
- Make sure you understand the instructions for your care at home.
- Be sure you can read any new prescriptions and that you understand the instructions on the label.
- Ask about signs and symptoms of potential complications such as infections.
- Arrange for follow up appointments.
- Get the number of a health professional you can call if you have any questions or concerns.