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Patient Safety – It’s everyone’s responsibility


Chad Tharan, Patient Safety coordinator

March is National Patient Safety month. Patient safety is a healthcare initiative that emphasizes the prevention of medical errors. Patient safety relies on the patient becoming a partner in their care. When patients and their families are actively involved, it ensures their caregivers are able to provide the right treatment.

In order for patient safety programs to be truly effective, patients need to be fully informed and actively involved in their care.

What does involvement in patient safety mean? It means patients and their families:

• Need to provide detailed information about their condition.
• Should clearly understand the diagnosis and treatment plan and know what to expect.
• Continue to inform their caregivers of any changes in their condition, good or bad, such as an allergic reaction to a drug.
• Must speak up when there are questions about any aspect of the care they are receiving. 
                               
Below are the Top10 for Patient Safety questions which encourage patients and their families to become partners in their care:

1. Hand washing: Before your caregivers touch you, ask them if they washed their hands. Your caregivers can include your physician, nurse, radiology tech, etc.
2. Medication safety: If your caregivers did not ask you who you are, check your arm band, tell you what medication you are being given and what the medication is for, please ask to have these questions answered before you take any medication.
3. Plan of care: If you do not know why you are in the hospital and what your treatment is, please ask.
4. Allergies: If you have (or think you have) allergies to any food or any medicine, including over-the-counter medications or herbs, please inform your caregivers right away.
5. Drug reactions: Please tell your caregivers all the prescription, herbal and over-the-counter medications you are taking; leave nothing out.
6. Know the staff: Staff members will introduce themselves and explain their roles; please introduce yourself to your caregivers.
7. Consent and right location for surgery: If you are having surgery, please review with the surgery staff what surgery you are scheduled for and where the surgical site will be. Feel free to ask your caregivers questions about the procedure.
8. Fall prevention: It’s important to tell your caregivers if you have a history of falling and that you ask for assistance if you feel light headed or weak.
9. Pain management: If your pain is not controlled, tell your caregiver immediately.
10. Patient satisfaction: Our goal is to meet or exceed your expectations. If you are unhappy with any of the care or services provided to you or your family, tell your caregivers immediately so changes can be made to best meet your needs.

Chad Tharan is the Patient Safety Coordinator for Flagstaff Medical Center. Is there a health topic you’d like to know more about? Please write to Mountain Medicine, c/o FMC Public Relations, 1200 N. Beaver St., Flagstaff, AZ 86001, or visit FMC’s Web site at FlagstaffMedicalCenter.com.



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