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Patient Safety

Keeping You Safe

For your safety, we may ask you several times for the same information. This will help make sure we have not missed important information to provide safe medical care. We thank you for your patience.


Upon admission, you will receive a patient ID armband. For your safety, this must be worn at all times when you are in the hospital. This ID is used to identify you whenever patient care is provided.

Preventing injuries from falls

In the hospital, you may have a higher risk of falling due to your illness, surgery or medications. Please call for help when getting out of bed if you feel unsteady. If you are at risk for falling, a green armband will be given to you and a sign will be placed on your door to alert staff.

  • To reduce your risk of falling: Use your call button before getting out of bed or going to the bathroom when you feel unsteady.
  • Turn on a light before walking in your room at night.
  • For your safety, please remain in your hospital room.
  • Make sure you keep your walkway clear, especially the walkway to
  • the bathroom.
  • Wear non-slip shoes or socks.
  • Lower the height of the bed and the side rails.

Talk to your doctor if your medicine makes you sleepy, light-headed, sluggish or confused. Ask how to reduce these side effects or if you can take another medicine.

Speak up.

Speak Up is a team effort to encourage patients to help us prevent medical errors. Everyone has a role in making healthcare safe. As a patient, you can make your care safer by being an active, involved, informed part of your healthcare team and by asking questions.

  • Speak Up if you have questions or concerns about your care. If you don’t understand, ask again. Your health is important and you have a right to understand your care.
  • Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Always make sure you are receiving the right treatments and medicines by the appropriate healthcare professionals. Do not assume anything.
  • Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you receive and your treatment plan. If your treatment involves medical equipment you will be going home with, practice with your healthcare team. Write down questions for your Care Team and keep notes about your care.
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate/ Ask that your advocate be educated so that he or she can help in your care once you go home. Know what medicines you take and why you take them. Ask about the side effects of medication.
  • Use a hospital or clinic like University Medical Center that is certified and has completed a thorough program to assure safety and quality.
  • Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of your healthcare team. Discuss any cultural, ethnic or religious based special needs with your team.

Keeping you safe during surgery

When preparing for surgery:

  • Ask which medicines, including over-the-counter medicines, can or cannot be taken before your surgery
  • Ask what you can or cannot eat or drink before surgery
  • Ask if you can you wear nail polish, dentures, etc.
  • Ask someone to take you to and from the hospital, and if possible, to stay with you during your surgery
  • Before you leave home, shower and wash your hair and follow any other instructions given to you. Do not wear makeup. Your doctors and nurses need to see your skin to check your blood circulation. Leave your jewelry, money, and other valuables at home.

At the hospital, the staff will:

  • Ask you to review and sign an Informed Consent. Read it carefully. It will list your name, the kind of surgery you will have and the risks associated with your surgery. You will be able to ask questions. If you do not understand or if the information does not appear to be correct, Speak Up.
  • For your safety, the staff may ask you the same questions many times.
  • Before your surgery, a doctor may mark the spot on your body to be operated on.
  • During surgery, the team will perform a "time out” to make sure they are doing the right procedure on the right body part on the right patient.

After surgery, talk with your doctor or nurse concerning your pain. Make sure you understand all post-surgery instructions, how to take care of your wound, what medicine you must take, what you can and cannot do, when you need to follow-up with your doctor, who to call if you have questions, and when you can start normal activities like work and exercise.

Make sure you wash your hands before and after caring for your wound. If you have any symptoms of an infection (abnormal redness and pain at the surgery site, unusual drainage, or fever), call your doctor immediately.

Medication safety

When you are admitted to the hospital, you will be asked for your medication history. It is important that you discuss all of the medication you are taking so that any interactions with other medications or contraindications can be avoided. This includes:

  • Prescription medication
  • Over-the-counter medication (ex: aspirin, cold medicine)
  • Vitamins
  • Herbal products
  • Dietary supplements
  • Recreational drugs

Do not take medicines that you have brought from home unless you have been told to do so by your doctor (such as if you are taking a specific medication as part of a study protocol). Your doctor must have a written order and the medication must be checked by pharmacy before you will be allowed to take it. If you have brought medication with you, you must give them to your nurse to store for you until you leave the hospital or give them to a family member to bring home.

Make sure your nurse or doctor checks your armband before giving you any medication. Know what time you should get a dose and if you do not get it, Speak Up. Make sure you understand why you are taking each medication.

Tell your nurse or doctor if you don’t feel well after taking medicine. Ask for help immediately if you think you are having a side effect or reaction.

Protect yourself from infection

Here are some easy steps to prevent the spread of infection to yourself or others:

  • Clean your hands: If your hands look dirty, use soap and water for at least 15 seconds, rubbing your palms, fingernails, in between your fingers, and the backs of your hands. If they do not look dirty, clean them with alcohol-based hand gel. Clean your hands before and after touching or eating food, after using the bathroom or bedpan, after blowing your nose, or after coming in contact with someone who is sick.
  • Make sure your doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff clean their hands before they treat you. Make sure they wear clean gloves when taking samples, touching wounds or body fluids, looking in your mouth or at your private parts. Don’t be afraid to Speak Up – ask them if they have cleaned their hands or request they put on gloves.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing by using tissues or the bend of your elbow.
  • If your visitor is sick, ask them to stay home. Don’t shake hands or touch others who are sick.

When you are admitted to the hospital, you may be asked about your current vaccination/shot history and if you would like to have a flu shot or other shots. If your shots are not current, and you are eligible to receive them, please do so. They are very effective at reducing the spread of disease.

If you have an IV catheter or drainage tube, let your nurse know right away if the dressing gets loose or wet or if the catheter/tube becomes loose or disconnects.

If you have diabetes, be sure that you and your doctor discuss the best ways to control your blood sugar before, during, and after your hospital stay. High blood sugar increases the risk of infection.