PATIENT SAFETY CHECKLIST
- If you are admitted to the hospital or as an outpatient, check your ID bracelet to make sure all the information is correct.
- If it is incorrect, have it corrected; don't assume that someone else will. Staff should use this bracelet to confirm your name and date of birth before all treatments or tests or medications are administered.
- Have your next of kin documented on your admission form. Better yet, have your name and date of birth in front of you.
- Know your blood type and question the type given to you, if you need a transfusion.
- Ask about your hospital's rates of infection.
- Whenever a healthcare worker enters your room, ask if they have washed their hands before they have contact with you.
- Request that visitors also wash their hands often. Washing can be with alcohol gel or soap and water. If possible, take a bottle of antiseptic hand cleaner with you and keep it by your bedside.
- Wash your hands frequently before eating and after you go to the bathroom and after you blow your nose.
- Ask to have your bed linen changed when it becomes soiled.
- Bring in a toothbrush or have someone bring in one. Brush your teeth frequently. If you have a family member in the hospital and they are unale to clean their teeth, ask if you may do it for them.
- Wipe down or have someone wipe down your bedside table, phone, call bell, and door hand or anything else that you touch.
- Ask the doctor and nurse to wipe down their stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs before they are used on you.
- If you have any type of catheter or drain, ask every day if they can be removed.
- Unless told otherwise, drink plenty of water.
- Make sure that all of your doctors know about every medicin you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements, such as vitamins and herbs.
- Keep a list with you. Keep a list on your refrigerator.
- Take all your medicines and supplements to your doctor visits.
- Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.
- When your doctor writes a prescription for you, make sure you can read it. If you cannot read your doctor's handwriting, your pharmacist may not be able to read it either.
- Ask for information about your medicines in terms you can understand—both when your medicines are prescribed and when you get them.
- When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy ask, "Is this the medicine that my doctor precribed?" If you have any questions about the directions on your medicine labels, ask. Medicine labels can be hard to understand. For example, ask if "four times daily" means taking a dose every 6 hours around the clock or just during regular waking hours.
- Ask your pharmacist for the best device to measure your liquid medicine. For example many people use household teaspoons, which often do not hold a true teaspoon of liquid. Special devices, like marked syringes, help people measure the right dose.
- Ask for written information about the side effects of your medicine. If you know what might happen, you will be better prepared if it does or if something unexpected happens.
- Ask the nurse about your fall risk level. What steps are being taken to reduce that risk. If you are at risk you should be given special socks or some other identifier that tells others that you are at risk.
- Keep the nurse call bell, eyeglasses, and other items within reach and wear non-skid footwear.
- If you need assistance walking, request help before the need to use the bathroom becomes urgent.
- If possible, have a family member stay with you.
Venous Thromboembolism (Blood Clots)
- Ensure that you/loved one are screened by clinicians to identify your risk for blood clots.
- Given your risk category, ask what treatments your should receive.
- Ask, every day, if you are getting the treatment you should to reduce blood clots.
- Ensure that you/loved one are screened by the healthcare worker to identify your risk for pressure sores.
- Given the risk category, ask what treatments your should receive.
- Ensure that you/loved one is moved at least every two hours.
- Watch for signs of redness.
Communication and Teamwork Errors
- When you enter the hospital, be familiar with what medications you are taking, your allergies, and your complete medical and surgical history. Know if there is any family history of problems with anesthesia.
- Ask to participate in daily rounds.
- If you are confused about something regarding your/love one's treatment, ask for a "bedside huddle" with the care team to make sure they come to you to address your concerns.
- If you are unhappy with the care team, contact the hospital patient advocate.
- Ensure you will be able to care for yourself when you leave the hospital by reading back your discharge plan and ensuring that you know:
What risks to watch out for and what to do if they occur.
Follow-up instructions—which provider you should visit, how soon, and when this provider will receive the records from your hospital.
- Have a healthcare agent designated in advance to make healthcare decisions when you are incommpetent and are unable to do so.
This can be a spouse, adult child, adult brother or sister, adult grandchild, another adult who know's the patien's values and preferences (this can be one of your church family members).
Let them know your beliefs about the preservation of life.
How you want suffering relieved.
How you feel about the preservation of and restoration of functioning.
- Unless specified in writing by the patient, the doctor will assume that an incompetent patient would want nutrition and hydration.
- Let your healthcare agent, if there have been "clearly expressed wishes" to the contrary or based on your values and preferences.
- The healthcare agent may object to life sustaining care for a patient who is at end stage or permanently unconscious only if the patient has specifically authorized this in a Living Will or Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA).
- Heathcare agents may not object to life sustaining care for a patient that is not end stage or permanently unconscious.
- Let your physician know your wishes regarding the life sustaining treatment.
The biggest mistake patients and caregivers can make is that hospitals will take care of everything Patients and caregivers need to take a role in their love one's care.
I hope this will help you and your loved ones.