UF Health Shands Hospital Patient Guide: Medications


Our goal is to ensure all medical care is delivered in the safest environment possible, in both an inpatient and outpatient setting. As a patient, you can play a vital role in patient safety by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your health-care team. Together we can create a safer environment.

Preventing Medication Errors

By taking part in your own care, you can help the members of your health-care team avoid medication errors. Here’s how:

  • Be sure that all of your doctors know what medications you have been taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbal and vitamin supplements, natural remedies and recreational drugs.
  • Be sure that all of your doctors know of any allergies you may have — to medications, anesthesia, foods, latex products, etc. When you are brought medications or IV fluids, ask the person to check to be sure you are the patient who is supposed to receive the medications.
  • Show that person your ID bracelet to double-check. Remember — you play an important role in helping to reduce medication errors.
  • Ask for written information about the potential side effects your medicine could cause.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the pharmacist, nurse or doctor if you think you have received the wrong medication.
  • Do not take any medication from home unless specifically told you can. This is for your safety.

Know Your Meds

While you are hospitalized, your doctor may prescribe medications for you. Be sure that you understand exactly what they are and why they are being prescribed. Use this checklist to help you get the information you need from your doctor:

  • What is the name of the medicine?
  • What is its generic name?
  • Why am I taking this medicine?
  • What dose will I be taking?
  • How often, and for how long?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • Can I take this medicine while taking my other medications or dietary supplements?
  • Are there any foods, drinks or activities that I should avoid while taking this medicine?

Preventing Falls

Patients often fall because they are on medications that make them dizzy, they are weak and unsteady due to illness or medical procedures, or because they’ve been sitting or lying down for too long. For your safety, please:

  • Always call for assistance before getting out of bed.
  • Wear properly-fitting shoes with nonskid soles.
  • Keep the call button within easy reach.
  • Have necessary items within reach, such as your glasses, tissues, the telephone and anything else you need.
  • When you get assistance, rise slowly from your bed or chair to prevent dizziness.
  • Walk close to the wall and hold onto the handrail while in the bathroom.


  • Each year, during early fall, we encourage eligible patients to receive the flu shot. This is important to protect you against getting the flu and possibly spreading it to others. I f the shot is not offered to you, ask your healthcare provider if you are eligible to receive it.
  • Pneumonia is also a serious condition that can be prevented with a vaccine. We encourage eligible patients, especially people age 65 and older who have not received a pneumonia vaccination within the past five years, to receive one while they are in the hospital. If the shot is not offered to you, ask your healthcare provider if you are eligible to receive it.