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Stand Up for Patient Safety: Your Role as a Patient

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --

During your visit, the healthcare professionals and clinic staff at the 92nd Medical Group do everything they can to insure your safety and well-being. Don’t forget that you, too, are an important member of your healthcare team. Informed and involved patients play a crucial role in protecting their own safety.

 

The 92nd MDG is committed to the National Patient Safety Foundation and the Stand Up for Patient Safety program.

Mar. 12-18, is known as Patient Safety Awareness Week, celebrated across DoD and civilian hospitals and clinics alike. This program seeks to improve patient safety by empowering patients and encouraging a culture of accountability, system improvement and an environment of continuous learning within the 92nd MDG. 

The NPSF offers the following tips to help you take charge of your own care and safety:

 

Bring Your Medical Information with You

  • Your medical history, including a list of special conditions, illnesses, allergies, and sensitivities

  • Certificates of immunizations and vaccinations

  • A list of all medications you are taking, including herbal and dietary supplements and over-the-counter drugs

  • The names and telephone numbers of your other doctors, clinics, and pharmacies.

 

Don’t Go Alone

  • Bring a family member or friend with you

  • Ask this advocate to help you communicate important questions

 

Learn about Your Choices

  • Research your illness, condition, treatment plans, and any tests you will be undergoing

  • Use the Internet, your local library, support groups, and information from your doctors to become better informed

  • Learn about choices you may have in your treatment plan so you can make the best decisions in consultation with your healthcare professional

  • Don’t hesitate to ask for a second opinion if you have any doubts or concerns about your care.

 

Talk Openly

  • Answer all questions about your health as truthfully and completely as possible

  • Provide any and all information that you feel may be important – even if your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist does not ask a specific question about what is on your mind

  • Tell your healthcare provider about all your medications, dietary supplements, and alternative remedies or treatments

  • Don’t be afraid that you will bother or insult your doctors or healthcare professionals – they want to know if you have concerns or are worried about your treatment

  • Report anything unusual to your doctor, including any changes in your condition

 

Ask Questions

  • Question all medications that you are about to receive while you are in the clinic

  • Make sure you have the correct medication and the correct dose – if something doesn’t seem right, notify your doctor or nurse immediately

  • Ask every person for identification upon entering your room

  • Before you go in for a procedure, ask questions to make sure they have the right patient and are doing the correct procedure

  • Ask questions about every part of your care until you are comfortable in making the best and most informed decisions

  • Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask – it is your right to get answers

 

Write It Down

  • List your questions and take them with you to see your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist

  • Write down the answers as you are talking with your healthcare provider so you can review them later

  • And, don’t hesitate to ask for a second opinion if you have any doubts or concerns about your care

 

Avoid Infection

  • Ask all your caregivers and visitors to wash their hands – this is one of the best ways to fight the spread of infection

 

Be Aware

  • Be attentive to your condition and your treatment

  • Be aware of any changes in your body or the way you are feeling – no one knows your situation better than you

 

Before You Leave

  • Be sure you understand instructions before you leave the hospital or clinic

  • Ask your doctor or nurse to review with you the name of every medication prescribed for you, the dose amount, how often you will be taking the medicine, and any additional care instructions that you should follow once you are home

  • To make sure that you understand, repeat all verbal instructions

  • Be sure that you can understand the written information and that it is readable

  • Get the name and number of someone you can call if you have questions

 

 

The National Patient Safety Foundation’s vision is to create a world where patients and those who care for them are free from harm. A central voice for patient safety since 1997, NPSF partners with patients and families, the health care community, and key stakeholders
to advance patient safety and health care workforce safety and disseminate strategies to prevent harm.

NPSF is an independent not-for-profit organization. For more information visit: www.npsf.org