Take charge of your care
During your stay, the doctors, nurses and staff will treat you and your family as genuine partners in your health care. As part of this coalition, your job is to speak up. Ask questions, voice your concerns, and don’t be afraid to raise any issues relating not only to your care and treatment, but also to overall hospital services.
|Step up & speak up||Ask questions and voice concerns. It’s your body, and you have a right to know.|
|Pay attention||Make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicines.|
|Educate yourself||Learn about the medical tests you get and your treatment plan.|
|Find an advocate||Pick a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate or support person.|
|Know what meds & why||Know what medicines you take and why you take them.|
|Check before you go||Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center or other type of healthcare organization that meets The Joint Commission’s quality standards.|
|Participate in your care||Remember that you are the center of the healthcare team.|
If you’re in pain
You are the expert on how you are feeling. Be sure to tell your doctor or nurse when you have any kind of pain.
- Pain medication may be given in different forms:
- Tablet or liquid
- Injections into your skin or a muscle (IM)
- Injections into a vein (IV)
- Through a small tube in your back (an epidural)
- Via patient-controlled analgesia (PCA): A method of giving medicine into the vein with a pump that you control so you receive medicine when you need it
- If your current pain treatment is not working, talk with your caregiver about finding other methods that will help reduce or relieve your pain.
- There are non-medicinal ways to relieve pain such as acupuncture, physical therapy or massage. Speak with your doctor about whether any of these treatments or others may be right for you.
Many people, from doctors and nurses to aides and orderlies, will enter your room while you are in the hospital. The following information will help make your hospital stay safe and comfortable.
Don’t be afraid to…
- Ask for the ID of everyone who comes into your room. All hospital employees wear identification badges.
- Speak up if hospital staff doesn’t ask to check your ID.
- Ask if the person has washed their hands before they touch you.
- Ask why you need certain tests or procedures, when they will happen and how long it will be before you get the results.
- Ask visitors to show and/or obtain a visitor badge.
Any time staff members enter your room to administer medications, transport you or perform procedures and treatments, they must check your birth date and name before they proceed. At times, you may be asked the same questions repeatedly. We are aware that this may be annoying. Please understand, however, that this verification process is a critical component in our patient safety program in order to guarantee that all our patients receive the correct medications and treatments.
Your medical ID
If you suffer from an allergy, ailment or disease that cannot easily be seen or recognized, you may want to wear a bracelet or necklace explaining the problem. Such identification may prevent tragic mistakes if you ever need emergency medical treatment. Ask your physician if it would be advisable for you to wear a medical ID.
Know your meds
While you are hospitalized, your doctor may prescribe medications for you. Be sure that you understand exactly what they are and why they are being prescribed.
While you’re in the hospital there is the possibility of developing an infection. The single most important thing you can do to help prevent infections is to wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner and make sure that everyone who touches you—including your doctors and nurses—cleans their hands too.
Hospital patients often fall because they are weak or unsteady due to illness or medical procedures, their medications make them dizzy, or they’ve been sitting or lying down for too long.
Please help us keep you safe by following these guidelines during your hospital stay:
- Don’t get out of bed by yourself. Use your nurse call button and ask for assistance.
- Keep often-used items—call button, tissues, water, eyeglasses, telephone, TV remote—within easy reach.
- Don’t walk barefoot. Wear nonskid socks or slippers and make sure your robe or pajamas don’t drag on the floor.
- Use the handrails in your bathroom and throughout the hospital at all times.
- Ask your nurse to show you how to properly walk with your IV pole, drainage bags or any other equipment.
- Be sure your wheelchair is locked when getting in or out of it. Never step on the footrest.
- If you see a spill on the floor, report it at once.