Actively participating in your care while you’re in the hospital will help the staff get you both off to the best start possible. The Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies healthcare organizations in the U.S., asks hospitals to encourage patient involvement in ensuring their own safety.
Information technology offers many benefits for healthcare providers and patients. But as with all forms of digital records or support, it needs to be checked for accuracy. We take great care in doing this, and patients like you have a role to play, too!
If you see information recorded about you—your height, weight, allergies, etc.—that isn’t what it should be, tell your healthcare provider right away. This can help prevent errors in medical care, such as medications or dosages.
What else can you do?
Just remember: SPEAK UP! That’s the Joint Commission’s acronym to help you learn how to advocate for yourself in a medical setting:
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.
- Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medications from the right healthcare professionals. Don’t assume anything.
- Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing and your treatment plan.
- Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.
- Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common healthcare errors.
- Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of healthcare organization that has undergone a rigorous onsite evaluation against established state-of-the-art quality and safety standards, such as that provided by Joint Commission.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the healthcare team.
For more information, visit the Joint Commission’s website on the Speak Up Initiative.
Improve the Experience of a Loved One
- Emotional support is important in restoring health. If the patient is anxious about being alone in the hospital, talk to the nurse about how you can help.
- Write down questions for the care team.
- Be aware and respectful of boundaries set to ensure patient comfort and safety.
- For the safety and comfort of the patient and other patients sharing the room or nearby, please limit the number of family members present at one time.
- Please do not take photos unless the patient agrees.
If you have any feedback or compliments don’t hesitate to contact the unit manager.