What Can Patients Do to Improve the Safety of Their Health Care?
In the spirit of this year’s theme, “Navigate Your Health… Safely,” Cindy Barnard, director of quality strategies at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, highlights important actions patients can take to become a partner with their care team to assure they receive the right care at the right time.
Asking questions can help make sure that you understand why different aspects of your care are important. Be sure you understand:
- What is my main health concern?
- What do I need to do to best address it?
- Why is it important for me to do this?
You can help make sure your care appropriate and safe. Your health care professionals need to make recommendations and decisions with complete and accurate information that is unique to you. Accurate information can prevent the possibility of patient harm due to inappropriate medications or other treatments.
Please follow hospital safety systems to ensure your own safety.
- Prevent injury from falls. Please, ask for help getting in and out of your hospital bed, even just to go to the bathroom. Our health care staff wants to assist you.
- Remind visitors and health care staff to clean their hands when they enter and leave your room. Hand sanitizer is provided for every room.
- Help health care staff check your identification every time they provide care or treatment.
- If you going to have surgery, assist your surgeon in clearly marking where your surgery will be.
A patient advocate can help you:
- Keep track of your medications, treatments, and diagnostic tests so you always know what is planned; and Remember to ask questions or address specific care requests.