Your Health & Safety as a Patient

Patients who are involved in their health care tend to do better and stay safer. By taking part in decisions about your care, you may also be able to prevent mistakes or unplanned events. Mistakes are possible even when medications, surgery, equipment or diets are provided. Cabell Huntington Hospital wants you to ask questions, confirm expectations and insist on adequate communication from the doctor and other healthcare workers. Here are some tips to consider:

Coming to the Hospital

1. Bring all of your medications and/or a written list of your medicines to the hospital so the nurses and doctors will know all the medications you have been taking at home. Include any herbal supplements, vitamins, aspirin, cold medications, laxatives and any other nonprescription medications.

2. Your medications should then be sent home with your family. The hospital will provide all the medications you need while you are here.

3. Inform all the staff members who care for you about important health information or history, such as latex allergies. Do not assume that everyone who cares for you knows all they need to know about you.

4. Ask about tests and treatments that are ordered for you. Ask why they are needed.

5. Ask about test results, your condition and your diagnosis.

6. Hand hygiene helps prevent the spread of infection; do not hesitate to ask those who care for you whether they have washed their hands.

7. Some foods may make your condition worse; if you have concerns when your meal tray arrives, ask if it is the correct diet.

8. Encourage your family to be involved in your preparation for discharge, including education on equipment, home care, medication and follow-up appointments.

Medication Safety

1. Wear your hospital ID bracelet at all times. If it comes off, ask your nurse to give you a new one. Verify that the information on your ID bracelet is correct. Do not allow anyone to give you medications without first checking your ID bracelet.

2. If tests or procedures are ordered, ask if they involve any dyes. For example, if you are taking Glucophage, be sure to inform your doctor before you have any tests that require you to be given dyes.

3. Always look at the medication before you take it; if it doesn't look like you think it should, ask why. It may be a generic brand, or it may be a new medication for you.

4. Ask the name of each medication you are given and why you are getting it.

5. Ask for information about side effects that could be caused by the medication you are receiving, especially new medications, and report any problems you experience to your nurse immediately.

Surgery

1. Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery. Talk to your doctor about what will be done in surgery.

2. You can expect our staff to ask you to identify the site where your surgery is to occur. Ask the surgeon to make a mark with a pen on the part of your body where the surgery will take place.

3. Make sure all staff members check your ID bracelet before any procedure, surgery or test is performed.

4. These are just a few of the extra steps we take to ensure we are performing surgery on the correct site.

Infection Control

Good infection control practices will protect you and those who care for you as well as other patients. Remember that hand hygiene is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. The system of infection control used by Cabell Huntington Hospital is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's system called Standard Precautions. Standard Precautions are designed to reduce the spread of germs from both recognized and unrecognized sources of infection. Principles of Standard Precautions apply to all patients whether or not they have a diagnosed infectious disease.

If you have a clinically important disease that could be spread by direct contact with you or with environmental surfaces or patient care items, you will be in a private room under Contact Precautions. Healthcare workers entering your room will wear gloves and gowns. If you have a disease that could be spread through the air, special air handling and ventilation are required for your room. You will be in a private room under Airborne Precautions. You should not leave your room without a mask on. Healthcare workers entering your room will also wear masks. If you have a disease that could be spread through respiratory droplets, you will be in a private room under Droplet Precautions. Germs are spread when droplets are forced a short distance through the air and land on someone’s eyes, nose or mouth. Because droplets do not remain in the air but drop to the ground, special air handling and ventilation are not required to prevent droplet transmission. Healthcare workers entering your room will wear masks. Any time you are under isolation precautions, you will be in a private room. Your visitors must report to the nurses' station for instructions before entering your room. A nurse will assist your visitors with gowns and masks, if needed. Before leaving, visitors should take off gowns and masks, place them in the container in the room and thoroughly wash their hands.

Visitors should be limited to two people who can serve as messengers to inform other visitors about your condition. Your doctor will take you out of isolation precautions as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please ask your nurse. To protect you and your family, there may be times when we need to limit visitation.

Managing Your Pain

We understand you may have pain for many different reasons. We believe you have the right to treatment of your pain during all aspects of your care. Our goal is to treat your pain so that you will be as comfortable as possible and so that pain does not interfere with your recovery or impact your quality of life. So that our staff can offer you the best care, tell your nurse:

  • When pain first begins so we can provide for pain relief
  • How your pain feels
  • If your pain is not relieved
  • If you have any worries about taking pain medicine

Preventing Falls – Call, Don't Fall

Just being in the hospital may put you at risk for a fall; your illness, the medication you take, a recent surgery or being in unfamiliar surroundings may cause you to lose your balance. You and your family play an important role in fall prevention. Prevent falls by practicing these tips:

1. Use the call button on the side of your bed to alert your caregiver that you need assistance. Make sure the nurse call button on your bed works and you know how to use it. Let your nurse know if you will have trouble reaching the call button.

2. Do not hesitate to call for help to go to the bathroom. If you are taking medicines that make you have to go to the bathroom often, ask for help. You may also ask for a bedside commode or urinal. If possible, call for help before the need to get to the bathroom becomes urgent.

3. Do not hesitate to call for help to get up from a chair in your room or from a bedside commode.

4. Call lights in the bathroom and pull cords can also be used to contact the nurses’ station to let them know you need help getting back to your bed.

5. The beds and stretchers have side rails to protect you. Do not lower a side rail that is in the raised position unless someone is there to help you.

6. Wear slippers with non-slip rubber soles. Stockings or slick shoes may slide and cause you to fall.

7. Never reach and extend yourself to get something. Never use your tray or IV pole as a prop to lift yourself up, and don’t lean on furniture, doorknobs, bedrails or other items for support. If family, friends or others have been in your room and moved any furniture, ask the nurse to help move it back.

8. Sudden movements, such as sitting up quickly, may cause you to become dizzy and possibly fall. Some medicines you’re taking may also make you sleepy and dizzy. Slow, deliberate movements safeguard against falls. Take time to sit up in bed for a moment before you attempt to stand. Always remember to call, don’t fall.

Restraints

Restraints are devices, such as a vest or wrist strap, that are used to prevent movement of a part of the body. Sometimes patients become confused as a result of illness, medications or surgery and may need restraints to prevent them from falling, removing their tubes or wandering away. Several alternatives will be used before restraint devices are applied.

  1. Restraints will be released for you periodically according to hospital policy and when you eat, turn, bathe, use the toilet or exercise.
  2. Never loosen or remove restraints yourself.
  3. If you have a concern, discuss it with your nurse.
  4. On occasion, as ordered by the physician, patients may require a sitter. Please know a patient sitter is engaged at your own expense.

Oxygen

Special regulations are in effect in areas where patients are receiving oxygen. Electrically operated equipment and aerosol products are not permitted in these areas. Absolutely no smoking is permitted in any room where oxygen is in use or on standby.

Personal Belongings

To ensure safe keeping of your belongings, we ask you to send valuables, jewelry, money, credit cards, checkbooks or anything else of value home with a family member. If that is not possible, valuables may be locked in Security until your discharge. For assistance, please ask your nurse. You are responsible for all articles in your possession, including dentures, hearing aids and glasses. For the health and safety of everyone, the hospital also reserves the right to remove or request that you remove items that are prohibited on CHH property from your possession:

  • Weapons (including firearms) and objects that can be used as weapons (e.g., knives, box cutters, straight razors, etc.)
  • Contraband and illegal substances
  • Home medications and herbal remedies
  • Cigarettes, cigars, matches and other smoking items

Lost & Found

Security keeps any items found on campus. If you have lost/missing belongings, notify your nurse and call Security (ext. 2223 from your bedside phone).

Safety Drills

Our staff rehearses fire and other emergency evacuation procedures on a regular basis. Do not be alarmed if you hear fire alarms or observe other safety procedures. You will be informed in the event of a real emergency. Because safety drills are not announced, it is important that the elevators not be used during any period when the fire alarms are sounding.

Security

Let the charge nurse know if you are leaving the unit. Be aware of your surroundings. All hospital employees wear ID badges. Report anything suspicious to the charge nurse. Security officers are on duty at all times to help you with safety/security concerns.

  • Last updated: 03/14/2011
  • Share |

Watch Video

View more videos