Delivering safe, high-quality care is our priority. We have developed several procedures to prevent errors and improve communication between caregivers and patients. We ask all patients, and their visitors, to follow all rules and directions given. They are in place to protect everyone, and create a more healing environment.
It’s not possible that anywhere can be completely “germ free.” However, there are several things caregivers, patients and visitors can do to eliminate germs and prevent them from spreading:
- Visitors who have a cold, respiratory condition, or contagious illness should not come to the hospital. Even if the patient they are visiting has a strong immune system, other patients may not and could be put in danger.
- Nurses and physicians must wash their hands as they enter and exit your room. They may also wear gloves while examining you or giving you a medicine. It’s OK to Ask them if they have washed their hands if you’re not sure.
- Soiled bed gowns and linens should be replaced as soon as possible.
Some patients may be placed in isolation. This is a special situation, and visitors to the room may need to wear extra protective gear to protect themselves, or the patient. It’s OK to Ask why you are in isolation, and what the restrictions are for visitors. It’s also OK to Ask your visitors and caregivers to follow the rules and put on gowns, masks or whatever is needed to keep you safe.
Prevent medication errors
Medication errors are the most common mistakes in hospitals today. At Memorial, we have put in place several processes to prevent errors. Patients and loved ones also need to be aware to prevent medication errors.
- Make sure your doctor knows about all the medicines you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements (vitamins, herbs)
- Tell your doctor if you have an allergy or have ever had a reaction to a medicine.
- It’s OK to Ask about the medicines you are given. You should know:
- What are they for?
- How are they to be taken? For how long?
- What are the side effects? What should be done if they occur?
- Is the medicine safe if taken with other medicines or over-the-counter drugs?
- What (if any) are the side effects? How long will they last?
- Should any food, drinks or activities be avoided while taking the prescribed medicine?
- Be sure you can read your doctor's prescription. (if you can't read the prescription, the pharmacist might not be able to read it either.)
- If you receive a drug in your vein, ask your nurse how long it should take for the liquid to run out. Tell your nurse if it seems to be dripping either too fast or too slow.
- If you don’t recognize a medicine you are given, ask if it is for you before you take it. It’s OK to Ask about your medicines, and read the contents of bags of IV fluids. If the patient isn’t well enough to do this, friends or family members can ask for them.
It's OK to Ask for help, or tell us you are uncomfortable or in pain. Asking for help before you get out of bed or a chair, to go to the bathroom, or if you need to reach something, is the most important thing a patient (or their loved ones) can do to prevent a fall in the hospital.
Patients should also:
- Keep your call button within easy reach.
- Ask for help to the bathroom - especially at night.
- Always wear slippers with rubber soles to protect against slipping.
- Keep your eyeglasses, phone, etc. within easy reach.
- Make sure there is enough light to see your way when out of your hospital bed.
- Call someone immediately if anything is spilled on the floor.