Patient Safety helps prevent injury, errors, and the spread of germs. You can help create a safe environment in the hospital by working with your caregivers. The following information will help you prepare for your visit at Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
How can I improve communication with my caregivers?
- Be an active member of your health care team. Take part in every decision about your care. Clearly understand your health condition. Tell your health care team about your past illnesses and current health condition. Tell caregivers if you are allergic to any drugs or foods, or have any other allergies.
- Write down your questions, to help you remember. Ask questions of your caregiver so you can make informed choices about the treatments that are best for you. Ask for an interpreter to help you understand. Tell your caregiver, if you do not understand something, or feel uncomfortable about your care
How can I help control the spread of germs?
- Wash your hands often. Good handwashing will help prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands often, especially after you have gone to the bathroom and before you eat. Remind caregivers to wash their hands or wear gloves when they care for you, if needed.
- Do not allow sick people to visit. Ask friends and family with colds or other infections not to visit. You may be on isolation precautions. These are rules that must be kept to help keep disease from spreading. For example, everyone may have to wear gloves, masks, and gowns while they are in your hospital room. You may also need to wear a mask.
- Help keep your environment clean. Let caregivers know if your bedding, gown, or other linens are soiled
How can I help prevent falls?
- Wear safe clothing. Wear slippers with rubber soles. Ask your nurse for a pair of anti-slip socks. Wear robes and pajamas that do not drag on the floor. Ask for help dressing or undressing and assistance to the washroom if you need it.
- Ask for help when you get out of bed. The most common cause of falls in the hospital is when a person gets out of bed without help. If you are not able to get out of bed by yourself, use the call button. This will call a caregiver to help you get out of bed safely. Try to keep your bedside clear of clutter. Have a clear path to the bathroom. Ask for help walking with an IV pole or other equipment. Have someone stay near you if you are weak, sleepy, or cannot see well.
How can I help decrease medication errors?
- It is important your health care team is aware of all the medications you take. Bring your medications with you, either in their original containers or an up to date list. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you make the list.
- Always wear your identification (ID) band. Make sure all the information on your ID band is correct before you put it on. Do not remove your ID band, even if it feels uncomfortable. Ask your caregiver to loosen the band or make it more comfortable while you are in the hospital.
- Ask caregivers about your medicines. Ask your caregiver about each medicine every time it is offered to you. Ask what it is, and why it is ordered for you. Learn when you should be given each medicine, and the color and shape of each pill. If a caregiver offers you a medicine that you do not know about, ask about it before you take it.
- Do not take other medicines without asking your caregiver first. Do not bring in medicines from home unless your caregiver asks you to. These include other prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements.
- Tell caregivers if you think there are problems with the medicine you are taking. Tell your caregivers if you think a medicine is not helping or is causing side effects. Tell caregivers right away if you think you are having an allergic reaction to a medicine. Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching or hives, and swelling in your face or hands. You may also have swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, and trouble breathing.
What should I know about my treatment?
- Talk to your caregiver about your treatments. Ask why the treatment is being given, how you can help, and what to expect after it is over. You can help caregivers know if there are problems during or after the treatment. If you have tubes or dressings, tell caregivers if they become loose or wet. Caregivers will check if IV tubes, catheters, or other tubes are still in the right place. They may need to change a loose or wet dressing, or replace a tube or drain.
- Read and understand all consent forms for treatments before you sign them. Ask caregivers for more information about your treatment, procedure, or surgery if you need it. There also may be handouts available for you to read or videos for you to see.
- If possible, have someone else with you when treatments are explained to you. Another person may hear or understand information differently than you do. They may also have other questions to ask.
What should I know about hospital equipment?
- Lock all equipment wheels. Make sure the wheels on your wheelchair are locked before you sit in it or get up. Lock all bed wheels to keep the bed from sliding while you get in or out.
- Ask caregivers about your equipment. Ask why each piece of equipment is attached to you, and how it should work. Ask about equipment alarms and what you should do if the alarm sounds. Ask caregivers what you can touch on the equipment without harming yourself or the equipment.
What should I do before I leave the hospital?
- Clearly understand all discharge instructions. When you are preparing for discharge, ask as many questions as you need to understand how to care for yourself at home. Write this information down and share with other health care providers. Ask for a telephone number for someone you can call with questions, or to get help. Ask when you can resume normal activities, return to work and when any follow up appointments are scheduled.
- Get prescriptions filled as soon as possible. Arrange to have family members or friends help you if you cannot get the prescriptions yourself. Know what each medicine is for, how much to take, and how often you should take it. Ask for written information about your medicine. Ask your pharmacist for a medicine measuring spoon if you need to take liquid medicine. Do not use a kitchen spoon to measure liquid medicines.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
We invite you to partner with us to help ensure your care is safe. Be aware, be informed and be involved.
Please let us know if you have a safety concern by contacting the Patient Relations Office at 519-621-2333 extension 2360.