Patient Safety Quality of Care And You
That’s what Trinity Hospital of Augusta is all about.
Trinity Hospital of Augusta has a responsibility to patients and their families to provide a safe and comforting environment for care. From medication to hospitalization, Trinity Hospital of Augusta takes an active role in the quality of your health.
And you can help. By taking an active role in your care, you can become an informed consumer and help ensure your safety, maybe even preventing unforeseen medication errors.
So, go ahead, ask questions. Talk to your medical team – your doctor, nurse and pharmacist are here for you and welcome your involvement. They will listen to your concerns and develop the right plan for your specific needs. Use the following information to become an active participant in your care. After all, YOU are what Trinity Hospital of Augusta is all about.
As a patient at Trinity Hospital of Augusta, you have the right receive the visitors who you designate, including but not limited to a spouse, a domestic partner (including a same sex domestic partner), another family member, or a friend. You may withdraw your consent to receive any visitor at any time. To the extent this hospital places limitations or restrictions on visitation, you have the right to set any preference of order or priority for your visitors to satisfy those limitations or restrictions. This hospital does not and will not restrict, limit, or otherwise deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. This hospital will ensure that the visitors chosen by you will be able to enjoy full and equal visitation privileges, consistent with your preferences.
Tips to Ensure Your Safety
- Ask questions, read labels, ask for explanations about any issue you don’t fully understand – take nothing for granted.
- Insist on explanations and clarification if you feel you are receiving conflicting information from the people taking care of you.
- Ask everyone who comes into your room to identify themselves, and ask why they are there.
- Identify yourself – let the staff know what you would like to be called.
- Ask for written information about medications you are given in the hospital and when you go home.
- Don’t be afraid to question something you don’t understand – never agree to a test you were not expecting, a medication you did not know you were taking, or anything else that is a surprise.
- Insist that the staff check your armband before they take you for tests, give you oral medications, or put anything in your intravenous fluids.
- Pay attention to symptoms – pain, nausea, drowsiness, dizziness – these are often side effects of medications or treatments. Don’t ignore them. Make sure your nurses and doctors know how you are feeling.
- Always ask for help if something just doesn’t “feel right.”
- Ask what, when, why, and how about everything.
Hand-washing is a very important step in preventing the spread of infections. We have placed waterless hand cleaner at the entrance of every patient room. Do not be afraid to ask your caregiver if they have cleaned their hands before caring for you.
To ensure the safe administration of care, medications and treatment to the correct patient, an identifying wristband is placed on every patient at the time of admission. The band contains the patient’s full name, hospital ID number and physician's name. Prior to receiving any care, medication or treatment, the ID band is checked. If the band should fall off or be cut off the wrist, this band is to be replaced immediately. You may be asked to state your name many times during your admission process. This is for your safety. Your caregiver wants to assure that you are receiving the correct treatment.
Georgia Law now requires an “Informed Consent” be obtained prior to performing any medical treatment or procedure on a patient. An Informed Consent is a communication process, which documents the indications for tests or treatments, probable benefits & risks, treatment alternatives and the risks of forgoing tests or care. You may be asked to sign many forms. This, again, is for your safety. Your care team wants to make sure that you understand your treatment plan.
Discussing Safety With Your Doctors and Nurses
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Your involvement and participation is the best way to ensure your own safety.
Let your caregivers know what is most important to you. Everyone has particular concerns, pet peeves, and past experiences, both good and bad that impact the way they think and feel about their care and caregivers. Discuss these with your care team. They can then work to relieve any fears or misunderstandings you may have, or to modify your care and treatments based on your needs.
Decide how you want to be involved in your care. Some people want to know about every option available for diagnosing and treating their problem, and they want to make all of the decisions. Others only want to know about the diagnostic and treatment options their doctors recommend. And still others want to leave everything up to the people taking care of them. There is no right or wrong way to be involved in decision-making other than making sure you do what’s right for you and letting your doctors and nurses know what you want!
It is all right to change your mind. Any illness takes a toll on energy and emotions so feel free to change your mind about anything you have already decided about. Just let your caregiver, family and/or advocate know what you’ve changed your mind about and why. If you think a mistake has occurred or something is not right, talk with your doctors and nurses about what to do and who to call. This is also something your advocate can do for you. If you are not comfortable talking about mistakes, consider writing a letter later or describing the problem in a patient satisfaction survey. This is important information for healthcare providers. If you are comfortable, indicate you would be willing to discuss your concerns with someone. Your feedback is key to improving care for everyone.
Advocating Patient Safety – The Role of the Team
Teams of caregivers are the norm in our healthcare system. While each team member brings a specific talent and focus to enhance your care, the complexity of this process can lead to misunderstandings, inaccurate assumptions and miscommunication.
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What YOU Can Do to Make Healthcare Safer
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- Keep an up-to-date, written list of all of the medicines (prescription and over-the-counter) and dietary supplements (vitamins and herbals) that you use daily or occasionally.
- Share this list with ALL of your healthcare professionals.
- Talk to your doctor and nurse about any allergies, sensitivities, or bad medication reactions you have experienced.
- Inform your doctor and nurse about anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing or remembering to take them.
- Tell your doctor and nurse if you are or might become pregnant, or if you are nursing a baby.
- Always ask questions about any concerns or thoughts that you may have.
Know Your Medicines
Know Your Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medication
- The brand and generic names.
- What they look like.
- How to store them properly.
- When, how, and how long to use them.
- How and under what conditions you should stop using them.
- What to do if you miss a dose.
- What each drug is supposed to do and when to expect results.
- Side effects and interactions.
- Whether you need any tests or monitoring.
- Always ask for written information to take with you.
Read the Label and Follow Directions
- Make sure you understand the directions; ask if you have questions or concerns.
- Always double check that you have the right medicine.
- Whenever possible, keep medicines in their original labeled containers.
- Never combine different medicines in the same bottle.
- Read and follow the directions on the label and the directions from your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. If you stop the medicine or want to use the medicine differently than directed, consult your healthcare professional.
- Ask if there are any interactions with any other medicines or dietary supplements (including vitamins or herbal supplements), beverages, or foods.
- Ask if there are activities you should avoid while taking a new medication.
- Whenever possible use the same pharmacy for all of your medication needs.
- Before starting any new medicine or dietary supplement (including vitamins or herbal supplements), ask again if there are possible interactions with your current medications.
Monitor Your Medicines’ Effects and the Effects of Other Products that You Use
- Ask if there is anything you can do to minimize side effects, such as eating before you take a medication to reduce stomach upset.
- Pay attention to how you feel and note any changes. Write down the changes so you can remember to tell your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional.
- Know what to do if you experience side effects and when to notify your doctor.
- Know when to expect an improvement and when to report back.
Remember: You are a part of the health team with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional to better manage the benefits and risks of your medicines.
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Preparing for Surgery
Advice for Patients Concerned About Correct Site Surgery
Make sure the operative permit you sign includes the correct information about your surgical site (i.e., right or left) and procedure. Thoroughly read all medical forms and make sure you understand them before you sign any forms.
Days to a couple hours before your surgery…
If your surgery involves a right or left decision or is a spinal procedure, the doctor or other member of the surgical team will ask you to make a mark with a pen on the part of your body where the surgery will happen. This should be done BEFORE you go into the operating room. You will be asked to put the doctor’s initial on the correct site. Check that the mark does not rub off. It will be very important for the doctors and nurses to see the mark while you are asleep just before the surgery. Tell your doctor or nurse if the mark rubs or washes off before the surgery.
An hour, or less, before the surgery…
While you are still awake, a doctor or nurse will ask you to say your name and the part of your body that will be operated on. Don’t be alarmed by these questions – your doctor knows who you are. This is an extra step taken to assure your safety.
Just before the surgery begins…
Just before the surgery begins, and during a time when you may already be asleep, everyone in the operating room will pause one more time in order to go over pertinent information about you and your case. They will again verify your name, the site of the surgery and the exact operation to be performed – all as a safeguard to you. The doctors and nurses at Trinity Hospital of Augusta are taking these important steps to make sure that everything goes as planned for your surgery.
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Managing Your Pain After Surgery
How We Set Goals for Pain Control
The number scale rates the amount of pain that you are having from 0 to 10, as well as The Faces Scale. 0 means “no pain,” while 10 means the “worst possible pain.”
How Can You Set Goals for Pain Control?
In order to perform your day-to-day activities, you need to set a goal for pain control. This goal should be a rating that allows you to continue your important activities easily. To help you set your goal, answer the following questions:
1. What activities do I need to do?
2. What rating will make it easier for me to do these activities?
Everyone is different. Many people need a pain rating of 3 or less to be able to function without problems. Studies show that ratings of 4 or higher make it difficult for patients to carry out daily activities.
Why Might You Need Pain Relief?
Many people think they should “tough it out” with pain, but research has shown that unrelieved pain can be harmful to you. Pain can make it hard to do things like getting out of bed or walking. Pain can also stop you from going to work or getting a good night’s sleep.
What You Can Do To Help Us
- Take your medication on a regular schedule. Do not wait for the pain to get worse.
- Ask your doctor or nurse how and when to take extra medicine. If some activities make your pain worse, you may need to take extra doses of pain medicine before these activities.
- The goal is to PREVENT the pain. Once you feel pain, it is harder to get it under control.
- Once you are feeling better and healing begins, your pain will subside.
With proper treatment pain can be controlled. When there is less pain, you will feel more active and interested in doing the things that you enjoy. As you heal, the pain will subside and you will no longer require pain medicine.
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Safety as You Go from Hospital to Home
You and your doctor will decide when you are ready to go home from the hospital.
New medications, home nursing, special equipment, and physical, occupational, or speech therapy are things that might be included in your recovery routine. Start planning early for your return home.
There are a few things you can do before you go home from the hospital to ease the last minute rush.
Medicine for Home
Listen carefully to the instructions for taking your medicine.
Instructions may include:
TAKING YOUR MEDICINE
- Number of times per day to take the medicine.
- Time of day to take the medicine (morning, night, meals).
- Number of pills to take.
- Foods to avoid when taking your medicine.
- Affect on activity (drowsy, sleepy, insomnia).
- Ask questions!
Closely follow your doctor’s instructions when taking your medicine. An easy guide to help you take your medicine safely is to follow the five “Rights.”
- Right person
- Right medicine
- Right time
- Right dose
- Right route (oral, topical, nasal)
Know the name and office telephone numbers of the doctors with whom you need to schedule appointments after you go home. Home Health Services
Your doctor may order a nurse or therapist to visit you at home and/or provide medical equipment such as oxygen and wheelchairs. The nurse or therapist will assess your health status and communicate findings to your doctor. Ensuring Safe Care
Learn as much as possible about your illness, treatment alternatives and medications you are taking, as well as planned and expected tests and treatments.
Learn about your healthcare providers, hospital, physicians, health plan, pharmacy, home care agency, and nursing home. Find out what services they offer, how they resolve disputes should they arise, and what their reputation is in their community. Back to Top