Patient Safety Week will take place next week, but I wanted to share this post a little early so you can start thinking about how you protect your safety when you enter the healthcare system.

Whether you are a patient, a family member, or a healthcare professional, patient safety is something we all need to think about and take action to ensure.

The week of March 14-20th is dedicated to raising awareness for patient safety. If each of us takes the time to think about how we can safeguard/improve our own (or a family member’s) safety, we will make a huge difference in ensuring a safe encounter wherever your entry point is in today’scomplex healthcare system.

As this is an important topic for me and for all of you, I wanted to let you know I will be doing a series of short Facebook Live and Linked In videos to share tips that will help raise awareness about the importance of patient safety starting on March 14th. I hope you will check out my Facebook Page, Nurse Advocate, and my personal page on LinkedIn page for these videos.

When you enter the healthcare system, you can cut down on medical errors or infections by doing the following things:

  • Be prepared.
  • Know what questions you want to ask or what things you want to tell your doctor. Write these things down ahead of time, so you are prepared.
  • Be alert for problems, and do not be afraid to say something. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare team members should be washing their hands and following safety procedures. If you notice deviations from proper care, say something. Many times the person forgot, and your reminder – reminds them.
  • If you are not sure of what you are being told, ask questions.
  • If you are worried about the cost of care, ask about the fees. If you know you cannot afford something, tell the nurse or the doctor to allow them to find a substitute. No one knows if you do not say something. Saying something enables the healthcare team to look for alternatives or find a way to find resources to meet your needs.
  • Be an active member in your care. Have a say in your care. Ask what would happen if you went another route than what your team is planning. Today, doctors, nurses, and other members of your team expect you to ask questions and share your goals. This allows them to think outside the box to look for alternatives or explain why they want to go the route they are suggesting.
  • Follow up. Ask questions and be alert for anything that does not look right – as we are told – say something!
  • Bring a family member or friend to your appointments. If you cannot be with your friend or family member, suggest that the visit be done by telehealth or a virtual appointment. This is more common today, and there are several ways to accommodate you via technology.

I hope these tips will help you and your family members stay safe when you enter the healthcare system. If you have a tip you would like to share, please feel free to comment in the comment section. I look forward to seeing you on social media next week…together, we can improve patient safety for us all!

Have a good week