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10 Steps for Safer Health Care

Because of our commitment to place the patient and family at the center of the caring and healing process, we present the following 10 Steps for Safer Health Care.

Patient Principles

General Care

  1. Speak up if you have questions or concerns. You have a right to ask questions of anyone who is involved in your care. Take notes to help you remember the information.
  2. Learn about the results of your tests. If you do not receive your test results within the time frame your doctor said, call the doctor's office to follow up.
  3. Review plans for your treatment with your doctor.
    • Ask questions and repeat the answers back to your health care professional or provider to ensure your understanding.
    • Understand what you should and should not do at home.
    • If someone helps care for you at home, make sure they understand the treatment and are able to take care of your health needs.
  4. If you are in the hospital, make sure that all medicines you take are intended for you. Your nurse or caregiver should check your identity by looking at your wristband before giving any medicine. Before you take the medicine, ask what it is and what it is for. If the answer doesn't sound right, ask to speak with a supervisor.
  5. If you are having surgery, make sure that you and your doctor are clear on exactly what should be done. Expect that your surgeon will mark the place on your body where the surgery is to be performed.

Care with Medicines

  1. Keep an up-to-date list of medicines you are taking (including the doses) and take it with you when you visit the hospital, doctor's office or pharmacy. Be sure to include all prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, herbal medicines, and vitamins and dietary supplements. Click here for a printable form
  2. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about any allergies you have, previous reactions from medicines, and medicines you are currently taking.
  3. When a prescription is written, make sure the name of the drug and its purpose are clearly printed on the prescription, the bottle or container, and your medicine list.
  4. When you pick up your prescription from the pharmacy, or buy an over-the-counter or herbal medicine, vitamins or dietary supplement, find out:
    • How can I safely take it and for how long?
    • Are there foods, drinks, or activities I should avoid while taking this?
    • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  5. Take your medicines safely and on schedule.
    • Take only medicines that have been prescribed and dispensed for you.
    • Use a written schedule or calendar and mark off your doses
    • If you take several medicines, find a way to organize when you take them.
    • If you take liquid medicines, ask for a measuring device, if needed.
    • Do not give your medicines to others.
    • Discard any unused or outdated medicine safely - out of the reach of children and pets.