Everyone has a role in making health care safe – doctors, nurses, other hospital staff – and especially your family members and you. Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital wants to keep you safe while you are receiving care. You can help us do that when you:
Actively Participate in Your Care
- Pay attention to the care you are receiving.
- Tell us if you have questions or concerns about your care or if something does not seem right.
- Ask to speak to a manager if your questions and concerns are not resolved or if you are not satisfied with your care.
- Expect caregivers to wear identification badges and to introduce themselves to you.
- Expect your caregivers to ask you for your complete name and birth date and to look at your identification and allergy bands before you receive any medication, treatment, blood tests or X-rays.
- Tell caregivers if you cannot read your identification and allergy bands or if they are incorrect.
- Share information with your caregivers about your past medical history including:
- Allergies to medications, food and environment.
- Current prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals and herbal or nutritional supplements you are taking.
- Treatments you tried on your own that may or may not have worked.
- Special beliefs or customs you have that we need to know about when providing care to you.
- Ask for information you can easily understand. If you need to communicate in another language, we will provide an interpreter for you and/or give you written materials in your language.
- Ask your caregivers to explain why your care is different from what you were told to expect.
- Make sure you agree with your doctor on the type of surgery you will have and what body part will be operated on. If a side – left or right – is involved, make sure that “Yes” is marked on the side of your body where the surgery will be done.
- Expect that your caregivers will protect your privacy and keep your health information confidential.
- Tell caregivers if you are given food that you are not supposed to eat or medication you are not supposed to receive.
- Tell caregivers if you are in pain or if your pain is not relieved with the pain medication you are receiving.
- Expect caregivers to respond quickly to equipment alarms.
- Gently remind caregivers and visitors to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub when they come into your room, if they have not already done so. Hand washing is the best way to limit the spread of germs.
Educate Yourself About Your Diagnosis, Medical Tests and Treatment Plan
- Write down important information your caregivers tell you and any questions you may have and discuss them with your caregivers.
- Read and understand all medical forms before you sign them. Ask for help if you do not understand the information on the forms.
- Ask a trusted family member or friend who understands your preferences and wishes for care to be your advocate. This person can speak up for you if you are unable to speak and can ask caregivers questions that you may not have thought to ask. Review consents with your advocate before you sign them. Make sure your advocate understands the type of care you will need when you get home.
Know What Medications Your Take and Why You Take Them
- Make sure medications are really intended for you if you do not recognize them when they are given to you.
- Ask for the name of medications that are given to you, why you are receiving them and what side effects may occur. Written information about your medications will be given to you at your request.
- Tell your doctors and nurses about any allergies or sensitivities you have when you are given new medications, ask how the medication should be taken and if more than one medication can be taken at the same time.
- Ask for help getting out of bed or a chair if you have been receiving medications and feel unsteady or light-headed.
- If you are receiving medications in your veins, tell your nurse if the medication is not dripping or the pump alarm goes off.
- If your healthcare provider has prescribed you antibiotics, be sure to ask the following questions:
- “Do I really need an antibiotic?”
- “Can I get better without this antibiotic?”
- “What side effects or drug interactions can I expect?”
- “What side effects should I report to you?”
- “How do you know what kind of infection I have? I understand that antibiotics won’t work for viral infections.”
Participate In All Decisions About Your Treatment
- Know who will be taking care of you.
- Make sure your doctor and you agree on exactly what will be done during each step of your care.
- Know how long your treatment will last and what you can expect.
- Make sure you understand what a new test or medication is likely to achieve.
- Tell your caregivers if you have a Health Care Directive and give them a copy.
- Tell your caregivers if you do not have a Health Care Directive, but would like to prepare one while you are hospitalized.
- Be sure you understand all instructions about your care after discharge. Your discharge instructions will include information about your diet, activity, medication, equipment, wound/skin care and follow-up appointments.
Questions? Contact Patient Safety
If you have questions regarding Patient Safety and would like to speak to someone directly, please contact Patient Safety at 314.996.8501 or firstname.lastname@example.org