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Patient Safety

Medication Safety

Patient Safety

  • Make sure your doctors know about every medication you’re taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs.
  • Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies, sensitivities, or adverse reactions you have had to medicines, foods, or dyes.
  • When your doctor writes a prescription, make sure you understand what it says.
  • Ask for information about your medicines in words you can understand – both when your medicines are prescribed and when you receive them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as:
    • What is the medicine for?
    • How am I supposed to take it, and for how long?
    • What side effects are likely?
    • What do I do if side effects occur?
    • Is this medicine safe to take with other medicines or dietary supplements I am taking?
    • What food, drink, or activities should I avoid while taking this medicine?
    • When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, ask: Is this the medicine my doctor prescribed?
  • If you have any questions about the directions on your medicine labels, ask.
  • Ask for written information about the side effects your medicine could cause.
  • If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done.
  • Speak up if you have questions or concerns.
  • When you are being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.
  • Ask a family member or friend to be there with you and to be your advocate (someone who can help get things done and speak up for you if you can’t).
  • Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor and nurse and by using other reliable sources.

Preventing Falls

The single most important way you can help to prevent accidents is to be an active member of your health care team.

  • Always follow your doctor’s orders and the nurses’ instructions regarding whether you must stay in bed or if you require assistance to go to the bathroom.
  • When you need assistance, use your bedside call light or bell in the bathroom and wait for the nurse/assistant to arrive to help you.
  • Ask the nurse for help if you feel dizzy or weak getting out of bed. Remember you are more likely to faint or feel dizzy after sitting or lying down for a long time. If you must get up without waiting for help, sit on the edge of the bed for a while before standing. Then, rise carefully and slowly begin to walk.
  • Wear non-skid slipper socks whenever you walk in the hospital. If you don’t have any, ask your nurse.
  • Remain lying or seated while waiting for assistance. Please be patient. Someone will answer your call as promptly as possible.
  • Do not tamper with side rails that may be in use. Side rails are reminders to stay in bed and are designed to ensure your safety.
  • Walk slowly and carefully when out of bed. Do not lean or support yourself on rolling objects such as IV poles or your bedside table.
  • Do not use furniture to assist yourself.

Rapid Response Team
Sacred Heart Hospital’s Rapid Response Team is available to all patients and their families to address immediate medical needs. The team consists of critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, resident doctors, and the nursing supervisor.

If you feel your loved one’s condition is getting worse or you suspect that something is wrong, please notify the patient’s nurse.

If the nurse feels he/she needs extra assistance when a patient starts to deteriorate, the nurse will notify the Rapid Response Team. The Team will then immediately help the patient’s nurse assess the situation and respond accordingly.

For more information about the Rapid Response Team or about how you can help with your loved one’s care, talk with the nurse responsible for your family member.