Each one of us has a responsibility to make healthcare safe: consultants, nurses, technicians, support staff, family members and especially you, the Patient.
How you can be an active participant in your healthcare:
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns about your care.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions or talk about your health.
- Ask about how decisions are made. If something is different from what you were told to expect, ask why.
- Various staff members will be helping with your care so you will be asked to repeat certain information to each member of your healthcare. E.g. you can expect to be asked your name and date of birth before receiving any medication, blood sampling, or treatment. Expect to have your identification band checked numerous times during your stay.
- Do not be afraid to ask about safety. If you are having a procedure / surgery, make sure you and your consultant agree on the site (body part) and the type of procedure. If your surgery is specific to the right or left side, a mark will be made on the site to avoid any confusion in the operating theatre or procedure area. This site marking will also be done if there is a choice of levels or digits (e.g. fingers, toes) involved. We need to make sure we have the right patient, site, side and procedure.
Share all of your health information so you can receive the safest and best care. Your consultant and other healthcare team members need to know if you have:
- Any allergies or sensitivities to medicines, foods, or other things. Tell everyone about your allergies.
- Medicines to take. This includes all prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, minerals, and herbal or nutritional supplements. Keep a written list of the name, strength, dose, and frequency of all your medications.
- Any particular beliefs or customs you have that we need to know about when caring for you.
Pay attention to the care you are receiving.
- Speak up if something doesn’t seem right! Ask to speak to a manager if you are not satisfied with your care.
- Expect healthcare workers to wear identification badges and to introduce themselves to you.
- Your identification band and allergy band are important to your safety. If you cannot read it or it is incorrect, tell staff.
- Tell staff if you are given a food that you are not supposed to eat.
- Expect equipment alarms to be promptly answered by staff.
- Notice whether your healthcare team members and visitors wash their hands or use an alcohol- based hand rub when they come into your room. Hand washing is the best way to limit the spread of germs. Do not be afraid to gently remind people to do this.
Educate yourself about your diagnosis, medical tests, and treatment plan.
- Collect information about your condition. Write down significant facts your consultant or nurse tells you and any questions you have.
- Read and understand all forms before you sign them. Ask for help if you do not understand.
- Understand how to operate equipment you will need at home.
- Know what medications you take and why you take them.
- Medication errors are the most common healthcare mistakes.
- If you do not recognise a medication, make sure it is really for you.
- If you are not sure what medicines you are being given, ask what they are, what they are for, and ask about any side effects.
- Whenever you receive a new medication, tell your doctors and nurses about any allergies or sensitivities you have and ask if it is safe to take more than one medication at the same time.
- If you are receiving pain medication, be sure to ask for help getting out of bed or a chair if you feel unsteady or light headed.
- If you are given an I.V., be sure to let the nurse know if it does not seem to be dripping properly or the pump alarm goes off.
How you as a Patient can help reduce your chance of having a Fall while in Hospital?
- Use the nurse call bell to ask for assistance
- Listen to the advice given to you by your nurse
- Take care not to over reach for things (e.g. on your bedside table or locker). If needed ask for assistance (ring the call bell).
- When you are moving from lying down to standing up position: sit on the bed for a minute before you stand up. Move your ankles up and down to get your blood pumping. Get your ‘nose over your toes’ before you stand up. Push off the bed or chair; do not pull up. Wait a minute before you start to walk.
- When you are walking: Wait for staff before moving if they have recommended that you need assistance or supervision. Take your time when turning around. Count each step to help pace yourself. If you have a walking aid, make sure it is in good condition. Use your walking aid appropriately. Do not grab for furniture. Wear you distance glasses or bi/multi focals when walking. Wear well-fitting slippers or use lightweight shoes that are non-slip and comfortable.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the centre of the health care team!
- Know who will be taking care of you.
- You and your consultant should agree on exactly what will be done during each step of your care.
- Know how long your treatment will last, and how you should feel.
- Make sure you understand what a new test or medication is likely to achieve.
- Let us know if you are in pain. Tell us if your pain is not relieved by the treatment given.
- Be sure you understand all instructions about your care after discharge.