UF Health Shands Hospital Patient Guide: Safety and Security
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.
Errors can occur during your hospital stay. They can involve medications, procedures or paperwork — for example, being given salt with a meal when you’re on a salt-free diet, or receiving someone else’s medical forms.
You can help prevent errors by taking charge of your care. Be sure to:
- Stay informed about your medical condition.
- Know the details of your treatment plan.
- Understand the tests and procedures you will undergo.
- Thoroughly read all medical forms and make sure you understand them before you sign anything.
- Expect health-care workers to introduce themselves when they enter your room, and look for their identification badge.
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions to clarify your plan of care or proposed procedure or surgery.
- Understand the risks, benefits and alternatives that are explained to you so that you can make an informed decision.
Your doctor can answer these questions. Take notes when you speak with your doctor, or have a trusted friend or family member take notes for you, so you can refer to them later. Also ask for any written information your doctor may be able to provide about your condition and/or treatments.
Remember – you’re in charge.
For your safety, upon admission to the hospital, a patient identification band will be placed on your wrist that includes your name, date of birth, gender and medical record number, which you will need to wear at all times. Please check your ID band for accuracy to make sure your name is spelled correctly and your birthday is accurate.
- Wear your ID band at all times. If it becomes tight, loose or soiled, ask your nurse to replace it.
- If for some reason your ID band has to be removed, it will be replaced by the staff member who removed it as soon as possible.
Clinicians will consistently check and re-check your identification band throughout your stay to be sure they are providing the services and treatments ordered for you by your physician.
The staff will ask you about any allergies you have. If you have any allergies to food, medication, tape, latex, etc., staff will place a red armband on you to make sure staff is aware of your allergies.
- Make sure you are familiar with the operation of any medical device or equipment, such as walkers, that you may be given.
- Do not turn off or modify alarms for equipment. The alarm is intended to notify staff.
- Most medical equipment from home can’t be used in the hospital. If you are allowed to bring your own medical equipment from home, make sure it is labeled with your name and address.
DVT: Lower Your Risk
Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when blood clots form in the legs and block circulation. The clots can lodge in the brain, heart or lungs, causing damage or even death. When you’re hospitalized and in bed with limited physical activity, your risk of DVT increases.
Ask your doctor about using compression boots or stockings and/or blood thinners to prevent DVT during your stay.
Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any of the following warning signs:
- A leg cramp or charley horse that gets worse
- Swelling and discoloration in your leg, upper arm or neck
- Unexplained shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
- Light headedness or blacking out
Falls are a significant cause of patient injury. If you are deemed to be at risk for falls, the staff will apply a yellow armband to your wrist. It is also important to wear this band so staff know about your risk and take extra care to prevent you from falling. Please follow any instructions regarding getting out of bed.
To keep you safe from falling, “Call, don’t fall” is a slogan used to remind you to call for assistance before going to the bathroom or otherwise getting out of bed if you have been deemed to be a fall risk. Be careful of hazards in your room due to clutter or equipment; it is very important to have a clear pathway between your bed and the bathroom.
Even if you have not been identified as being at high risk for falling, please ask the nursing staff for assistance when getting up if you feel weak or unsteady.
Patients in bed should turn or be turned frequently to prevent pressure on the skin over bony areas. Staff will help if you need assistance.
- You and your surgeon should agree on exactly what will be done during your operation.
- Tell the nurses, anesthesiologist and surgeon if you are allergic to any medication and if you have ever had a reaction to any form of sedation or anesthesia.
- Make sure the surgical site is clearly marked with a permanent marker with a “YES,” on the correct site. Make sure you take an active part in identifying the site of surgery and the procedure or surgery to be performed.
- Ask questions about your surgery such as:
- How long will the operation last?
- How long will I be in the recovery room?
- Where should my family/friends wait for me?
- Will the physician come out and speak to me, my family, and/or friends after the operation?
- Will I receive an antibiotic prior to surgery?
- Should I take a shower with antibacterial soap prior to surgery?
While you are in the hospital, many people will enter your room, from doctors and nurses to aides and orderlies. The following information will help make your hospital stay safe and comfortable.