To help prevent health care errors, Ephraim McDowell Health participates in the “Speak Up” program, sponsored by The Joint Commission. Patients are urged to get involved and speak up about questions or concerns they may have. To help make your hospital stay as safe as possible:
- If you are having surgery, ask the doctor to mark the area that is to be operated on.
- Don’t be afraid to tell the nurse or doctor if you think you are about to get the wrong medicine.
- Don’t be afraid to tell a health care professional if you think he or she has confused you with another patient.
- Tell your nurse or doctor if something doesn’t seem right.
- Expect health care workers to introduce themselves. Look for their identification (ID) badges. If you don’t know who the person is, ask for their ID.
- Make sure your nurse or doctor checks your wristband and asks your name before he or she gives you your medicine or treatment.
- Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get, and your treatment plan.
- Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).
- Know what medicines you take and why you take them.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment.
To fight the spread of infection:
- Clean your hands. Using soap and warm water, rub your hands really well for at least 15 seconds. You can use alcohol hand gel if your hands are not visibly soiled.
- Make sure health care providers clean their hands or wear gloves.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. If you don’t have a tissue, cover your mouth and nose with the bend of your elbow or hands.
- If you are sick, avoid close contact with others.
- Get shots to avoid disease and fight the spread of infection. Vaccines are available to prevent: chickenpox, mumps, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis, shingles, meningitis, flu, whooping cough, German measles, pneumonia, and Human papillomavirus (HPV).