The National Patient Safety Foundation’s Patient Safety Awareness Week is March 4 through 10. The week is a national education awareness-building campaign for improving patient safety at the local level. The National Patient Safety Foundation was established in 1996 with the goal of working with consumers and health care organizations to improve patient safety. In 1998, the Institute of Medicine published its findings that almost 100,000 patients per year die in American hospitals due to medical errors.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This has never been truer than in the area of medical and hospital safety. To highlight National Patient Safety Awareness Week, St. David’s Medical Center’s own Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Marietta, and Chief Nursing Officer, Susan Griffin, offered up a few ideas about the most effective ways to protect patients when they are in the hospital.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality makes the following recommendations to help prevent medical errors:
- Be an active member on your health care team.
- List all medications you take, including over-the-counter medicines, and give this list to your physician and bring it with you every time you come to the hospital or emergency room.
- Inform your doctor of any allergies you may have, as well as any reactions to medicines.
- Make sure you can read the prescription that is written for you.
- Make sure all health care workers wash their hands before caring for you. Do not be embarrassed or too shy to ask health care workers to wash their hands.
- If you are having surgery, make sure your physician and surgeon agree on exactly what will be done.
ASK, ASK, ASK:
- About your condition and treatments
- What is supposed to happen
- Why a test or procedure is being done
- When test or lab results will be available
- The physician, nurse, and/or pharmacist for information on medicines that are prescribed and how they should be administered, as well as whether they may cause any side effects
- A family member or friend to be with you to help be an advocate
- If you do not understand the physician’s instructions, ASK, ASK, ASK until you are satisfied
We want to help make your stay at our St. David’s HealthCare facilities as safe as possible.
For more information please see the list of resources below:
National Patient Safety Foundation: www.npsf.org
Institute for Healthcare Improvement: www.ihi.org
Anesthesia Patient Safety: www.anesthesiapatientsafety.com
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: www.ahrq.gov
Joint Commission:: www.jointcommission.org