The goal of the Speak Up program is to help patients become more informed and involved in their healthcare. Information is provided by The Joint Commission.

Everyone has a role in making healthcare safe – physicians, healthcare executives, nurses and technicians. Healthcare organizations across the country are working to make healthcare safety a priority. You, as the patient, can also play a vital role in making your care safe by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your healthcare team.

If you have concerns about patient safety in the hospital, immediately report it to your nurse or the unit’s manager or director. For additional help, call St. Rita’s Risk Management Department at 419-226-9607. You can also report your concern to The Joint Commission’s Office of Quality and Patient Safety by visiting jointcommission.org/report_a_complaint.aspx

How to SpeakUp

  • Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.
  • Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medications by the right healthcare professionals.
  • Learn about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing and your treatment plan.
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.
  • Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common healthcare mistakes.
  • Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center or other type of healthcare organization that has undergone a thorough on-site evaluation and has been certified for meeting state-of-the-art quality and safety standards, such as that provided by The Joint Commission.
  • Participate in all decisions about your treatment – you are the center of your healthcare team.

Things you can do to prevent infection

  • Avoiding contagious disease like the common cold, strep throat and the flu is important to everyone. Follow these five easy tips to help fight the spread of infection: (numbered)
  • Clean your hands.
  • Make sure healthcare providers clean their hands or wear gloves
  • Cover your mouth and nose.
  • If you are sick, avoid close contact with others.
  • Get vaccinated to avoid disease and fight the spread of infection.

Ways to help avoid mistakes with your medicines

  1. Make sure your doctors, nurses and other caregivers check your wristband and ask your name before giving you medicine.
  2. Don’t be afraid to tell a care-giver if you think you are about to get the wrong medicine
  3. Know what time you should get a medicine. If you don’t get it then, be sure to speak up.
  4. Tell your caregiver if you don’t feel well after taking a medicine. Ask for help right away if you think you are having a side effect or reaction.
  5. You may be given IV fluids. Read the bag to find out what is in it. Ask the caregiver how long is should take for the liquid to run out.
  6. Get a list of your medicines, including your new ones. Read the list carefully. Make sure it lists everything you are taking. If necessary, ask a loved one to help.

Preventing

Each year, millions of people are injured by falls. People at risk of falling include hospital patients, nursing home residents and those who are recovering from an illness or injury at home. Falls can happen for a number of reasons: the person is weak, tired, ill or may have problems seeing. Certain medicines may cause weakness, sleepiness, confusion or dizziness.

Many falls occur when patients get out of bed either to go to the bathroom or walk around the room by themselves. If you need to get our of bed:

  • Use your call button to ask for help getting out of bed if you feel unsteady.
  • Ask for help going to the bathroom or walking around the room or in hallways.
  • Wear non-slip socks or footwear.
  • Lower the heights of the bed and the side rails.

Talk to your doctor if your medicine makes you sleepy, light-headed, sluggish or confused. Ask how to reduce these side effects or if you can take another medicine.