According to WHO, adverse events due to unsafe care, are one of the top 10 causes of death and disability in the world. This is because during a patient’s stay in a health institution, multiple factors can occur that generate constant changes in care, which can lead to errors or adverse events other than the illness they arrived with.
That is why as patients, we are a key piece in helping the health institution provide us with safe care and minimize adverse events. So keep these points in mind:
I verify that my personal data is correct
In the case of the Shaio Clinic, during the patients’ stay in services such as Hospitalization or Surgery, they will have a white handle with their personal data (names with full surnames, type of document and identification number). This will help medical staff correctly identify all records, lab samples, medications, and any procedures that are performed.
Other mechanisms by which I can be identified are the identification talker or board, the identification tag, the nutrition support sign, and the hazard identification tag.
Whatever the form of identification, check if your data corresponds, otherwise, your family or you must inform the health personnel so that they can make the rectification and no mishaps happen.
I maintain constant and effective communication with my health care team
The more information patients provide about their state of health (diseases, history, symptoms, medications they take, etc.) the better the care, diagnosis and treatment provided by the doctor and care staff. In addition, it will help the care staff to have a constant communication of their state of health with each other and thus avoid mistakes.
As patients, we can make sure of this at shift changes and rounds. It is important to know that if there are doubts about the disease, treatments, procedures or recovery for which you attend a medical center, do not hesitate to ask.
I ask about the medicines that are being supplied to me
When medicines are part of a treatment or even those that are not prescribed, misused can cause injuries. It is normal that during the stay in a health institution medicines are applied to help calm discomfort or maximum alert to treat or perform procedures.
That is why as a patient, I ask about the medicines that will be applied to me and what they are for, this will allow them to give you information about their composition, date of preparation, doses, schedules and contraindications. It will also help to make the health personnel verify that it is the medicine that is required and avoid serious consequences.
One of the things to keep in mind when we are patients is to continue the treatment with medications suggested by the doctor once he leaves the clinic.
If I require surgery, catheterization or endoscopy, radiology, cardiology or other procedures, I ask and verify that the procedure and my data are correct.
Injuries, wrong-site surgeries, and wrong procedures are constant concerns in hospital settings. That is why it is important that before performing any invasive procedure, confirm the data, the place where it will be performed and, if possible, the information of the medical staff.
One of the tools we have as patients is informed consent, in this document the procedure, its benefits, risks, complications and alternatives will be clearly explained by the doctor or healthcare staff and as a patient I have the decision to accept or not the proposed procedure. This allows care to continue by ensuring safe procedures for the right patients.
Hand hygiene is very important to reduce the risk of infections
Hand washing has been shown to help save lives as it is a measure to fight infection and disease, not only of the person washing it but of the people with whom it is in contact.
During the stay in a health institution, family members, companions and patients must wash their hands with soap and water or use glycerinated alcohol, also require that the care and medical staff during their visits wash their hands if they will have contact with the patient.
I avoid the risk of falls
Many injuries in hospitalized or ambulatory patients are the result of falls, but also due to the use of medications, alcohol consumption, gait disturbances, balance or visual impairments. If during the stay in the health institution the patient needs help to walk or get out of bed or the chair, he can ask for help from the care staff, also be aware of the mobility recommendations that will be given to me on admission.
With these suggestions we can contribute as patients to the care process, to minimize the risks and receive a service with total safety.
This article was advised by Juan Carlos Garzón, coordinator of the patient safety program at the Shaio Clinic.