When you stay at a hospital, you want to have an experience that’s as safe and positive as possible. Life’s experiences, like a visit to a hospital, always involve some risk in spite of our best efforts. Our goal is to reduce the risks of things such as falls, allergic reactions, infections, and medication errors.
We believe by working closely together with you, we can lower the risk of accidents and improve the safety for all involved. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results. Here are some ways you can help make your hospital stay as safe as possible.
Ensuring Your Safety
It’s very important to make sure you understand all aspects of your care, including tests, procedures, medications, and instructions regarding your medical condition. Here are topics you may want to discuss with your healthcare providers:
- Medication allergies
- Verify all allergy information is written down in your medical records.
- Current medications
- Inform your healthcare providers of any medications you are currently taking, including prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, dietary/herbal supplements, laxatives, pain relievers, sleeping aids, etc.
- Additional prescription medications
- Ask questions about the medication being prescribed to you before you take them. Make sure you understand what the medication is for, the dosage, directions for use, refills, storage, expiration, and what to do about missed dosages. Discuss any side effects or warnings associated with the use of the medication and what to do if you experience side effects.
- Are there activities, food, drinks, or other medications you should avoid while taking the medication?
- Does the medication need to be taken with water, milk, or food?
- Get a flu or pneumonia vaccine before admission, if recommended by the hospital. This can help prevent illness in high-risk or elderly patients.
- Discharge instructions
- Make sure you understand any instructions given when you’re leaving for home.
- Are there special instructions for care, activities, or medications?
- Should you schedule a follow-up appointment?
- Is there a phone number to call if you have any questions?
- Ask for an interpreter
- If you’re deaf or hearing impaired, or if English is not your primary language, ask us to connect you with an interpreter.
- Feel free to ask for second opinion
- It’s your right to be well-informed, well-cared for, and safe. You have the right to ask for a second opinion. Seek advice and assessment from another healthcare provider if you’re unsure or uncomfortable about the care and information you receive.
Your Hospital Stay
For the best care, you should choose a hospital that does many of the procedures or surgeries you’re about to undergo. Here are a few additional tips to help keep you safe and reduce risk in the hospital.
- Ask visitors who have colds, respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, runny nose, etc.), or other contagious illnesses not to visit you or anyone else in the hospital.
- Minimize visits from young children, as they have colds and other infections more frequently.
- Inform your nurse or another healthcare provider if your gowns or linens become soiled.
- Remind healthcare providers to wash their hands or wear gloves prior to examining you or giving you medication.
What to Bring with You and What to Leave at Home
Remember to bring these items with you to the hospital:
- Insurance card or information, including preauthorization if necessary
- Medicaid or Medicare card
- Advance directive (living will)
- Emergency contact and physician information
- A list of medications and dosages. (Do not bring your medications unless you have your doctor’s order to do so.)
Other personal items you may need include:
- Clothing, such as a robe, slippers, and socks
- Toothpaste, toothbrush, and shampoo
- Instructions from your provider or the hospital
You should leave some things home, such as:
- Jewelry and other valuables
- An abundance of cash and several credit cards
- Electronics and appliances
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones were recalled earlier this year because of a defect that could cause the battery to catch fire. Due to the safety risk to St. Luke’s patients, guests and staff members, these phones have been banned at all St. Luke’s facilities. Please do not bring them with you.
Patient Safety Resources