What You Can Do to Improve Patient Safety
Your Hospital Stay Checklist
At DeKalb Medical, we recognize our responsibility to provide the highest level of quality care and improve patient safety for our community. There are, however, actions you can take to improve the quality of your care and your satisfaction with your experience.
Keep an updated medical history form that identifies allergies, medications you take, vaccinations you have received such as flu or pneumonia, doctors’ contact information, and other information that will help healthcare providers develop the right course of treatment when you need care. This is an important step to improve patient safety because healthcare providers can avoid prescribing medications that interact negatively with your medications if they know everything you are taking. Be sure to include herbal remedies and other dietary supplements you're taking, either related or unrelated to your condition. There are times you may be too ill or unable to remember all the details that a healthcare provider will ask, so the up-to-date form will make the admission process easier for you, the healthcare provider, and your family or friends. Click here for a copy of DeKalb Medical's Medi-Card, which will allow you to record all of this vital information on one convenient form.
At least once a year, bring all of your medicines and supplements with you to your doctor. "Brown bagging" your medicines can help you and your doctor talk about them and find out if there are any problems. It can also help your doctor keep your records up to date, which can help you improve your patient safety and get better quality care.
Appoint a Clinical Advocate. Good communication before, during and after your surgery or procedure will improve patient safety. But communicating with your doctors and keeping an eye on safety is more than one person can handle. That's why you need to ask family and friends to be your eyes and ears.
You can have several advocates and assign them different shifts. They come in, listen to providers, take notes on procedures and are willing and able to really ask the right questions and be assertive so that you're getting the right care.
Ask questions. Do not be afraid to ask for explanations of what treatment is being recommended or what you can expect during the treatment. You have a right to understand what is being done, why it is being done, and what outcome you should expect.
At DeKalb Medical we encourage our patients and families to actively participate in the safety of their care using the following guidelines:
- Doctors, nurses, dentists and other healthcare providers come into contact with lots of bacteria and viruses. So before they treat you, ask them if they’ve washed their hands.
- Healthcare providers should wear clean gloves when they perform tasks such as taking throat cultures, taking blood, touching wounds or body fluids. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they should wear gloves.
- Positive patient identification is essential to improve patient safety. Before any of your providers perform tasks such as administering medications, drawing blood, or performing procedures, your identification armband should be checked and the care provider should confirm another identifying element such as your date of birth. Don’t be afraid to ask them to do this.
- Tell your care providers if you have pain, even if they don’t ask. Your doctor or nurse may ask you to describe how bad your pain is on a scale of 0 (zero) to 10 with 10 being the worst pain. They may use other pain scales that use words, colors, faces or pictures. Tell them where and when it hurts. The more they know about your pain the better they can treat it.
- Before a surgical procedure, your doctor will mark the spot on your body to be operated on. Make sure they mark only the correct part and nowhere else. This simple mark can greatly improve patient safety.
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns. You have a right to question anyone who is involved with your care.
Complete an advance directive form and have a copy available for you healthcare provider so that there is no question about what type of care you want provided if you should be unable to tell us. A part of your registration process when receiving care at DeKalb Medical includes asking whom you have designated as your healthcare agent. Click on the link below to find more information about advanced directives and to get a copy of the form.
Let us know how we are doing. We like to hear when we’ve done something well so we can recognize our employees for outstanding performance. We also want to hear if you have a suggestion for ways to improve patient safety in our facilities. Select the link below to send us feedback on our service to you.