Patient safety is important to all of us. Patients can ensure a safer experience in the hospital by being involved and informed about their treatment. Ensuring patient safety requires open communication between physicians, hospital staff, patients and their families. It is our belief that everyone has a role in patient safety.
When a patient and his/her family work as our partners, the risk of accidental injury decreases, while patient care and safety improve. We encourage our patients and their families to help us ensure that these safety practices are followed. That’s why we say, it’s okay to ask!
Carondelet participates in “Speak Up,” a national campaign sponsored by the Joint Commission, as well as our own “It’s Okay to Ask” patient safety program. We encourage you to be involved in the following manner:
- Learn about your medical condition and treatment by asking your doctor and nurse questions about what they are doing and why.
- Know what medications you take and why you take them.
- Ask why a test or treatment is needed and how it is supposed to help you.
- If you have a test and don’t hear about the results, ask. You have a right to know.
- If you are having surgery, make sure you and your physician agree on exactly what will be done.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the healthcare team.
- Ask questions of anyone involved in your care. Your concerns are our concerns and should be addressed promptly and completely.
- During your hospital stay, you can expect to be addressed by your name and have your identification armband checked before you are given any medications, treatments or tests.
- Ask any healthcare worker or visitor whether they have disinfected their hands before they touch you. Hand hygiene is an important way to prevent the spread of infection.
- Clean your hands carefully and often, especially after using the toilet or bedpan, before eating or drinking, after using hospital equipment (e.g., a wheelchair) and after blowing your nose or covering your cough.
Our Commitment to Your Safety
Because patient safety is so important, we would appreciate knowing anything you want to tell us regarding your safety. The single most important way a patient can help healthcare providers prevent errors is to be an active member of the healthcare team. We encourage you to feel comfortable speaking up about any safety concerns or concerns about quality of care. You may communicate your concerns to your nurse or physician. You may also ask to speak with the Nursing Supervisor or Patient Advocate.
Tell your physicians and nursing staff about all the medications you are taking daily. Do this when you are admitted to the hospital. Include prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements, such as vitamins and herbs.
Please tell us about any known allergies or known reactions you may have had with prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbal and vitamin supplements, food and latex. This helps you avoid being given drugs that could harm you. Make sure you understand what medications you are being given the dosage and when you should receive them.
Medication questions patients often ask include:
- What is the medication for?
- How do I take it and for how long?
- Are there any side effects? If so, what are they?
- Is the medication safe to take with other drugs I’m taking?
- What medications will I be taking when I get home?
Please let us know about any concerns you may have about your medications.
While you are in the hospital, all of your medications are prescribed by your physician, dispensed by our pharmacy and administered and recorded by the nursing staff. You are not permitted to keep personal medications or to administer your own drugs unless your physician orders it. Please send any personal medications home with a family member or friend when you are admitted. If sending your personal medications home is not an option, we will need to secure them in our pharmacy onsite.
They will be returned to you on discharge. Our focus is to help you get better and we need to work together to achieve that goal.
The Yellow Slippers program helps us identify patients who are at risk for falling. If you are assessed by our healthcare team as being at risk for falling, we will ask you to wear special yellow slippers so that your healthcare team and all of our staff are aware of your need for assistance to assure your safety. Additionally, a yellow wrist band indicating fall risk will be placed upon your wrist and education regarding your risk status will be provided to you by a RN. As part of the “It’s Okay to Ask” program, we encourage you to ask for help any time you need assistance. It’s okay to ask!
For safety reasons, plug-in electrical appliances such as radios, clocks, razors and hair dryers must be inspected before they are used in your room. Please tell a nurse if you have one of these items. Battery-operated appliances are permitted.
Safe Patient Handling
During your hospital stay, you may experience problems with mobility due to weakness or unsteadiness. To assure your safety and the safety of our staff, we may use different devices to aid in your movement. If you have assistive devices that you use at home (such as a walker or cane), please bring them with you to the hospital or have a family member or friend bring them in.
Rapid Response Team
The hospital has a rapid response team comprised of a critical care RN and a respiratory therapist who are specifically trained to provide additional assistance to the nursing staff in response to a change in the patient’s condition. The rapid response team is available 24 hours a day and can be quickly deployed to assist in the patient’s assessment and to collaborate with the physician to provide immediate interventions. Patients and families can request the rapid response team by notifying any hospital staff member.
If you are concerned about the patient or notice a change in the patient’s condition that you feel needs immediate attention, you may request the rapid response team. In a non-emergency situation, any care concerns should be brought to the attention of the patient’s nurse or department manager.