Taking an Active Role in Your HealthMarch 23, 2017
As a nationally recognized organization for high patient satisfaction and leadership in quality and clinical outcomes as well as having extremely low infection rates, at New England Baptist Hospital (NEBH) we are committed to Patient Safety.
At NEBH Patient Safety is the responsibility of everyone who cares for you but you can have a more active role in your health by being an empowered patient. As a patient or family member of a patient, here are a few things to watch for and ways you can participate so that you can become empowered, informed, and prepared:
To better understand your health it is important to ask questions of your healthcare team. Ask questions during a consultation with a physician, or with your care team when hospitalized. Discuss any concerns you may have. Health information can be confusing at times so make sure you understand the information that’s provided to you. As a patient it may be beneficial to have a friend or family member with you to assist in gathering instructions and information.
Practice Hand Hygiene
In any hospital, hand hygiene is the single most important measure for preventing the spread of infection to patients. Cleaning your hands can prevent germs from spreading. While in the hospital you can practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands before eating, after using the restroom, and touching hospital surfaces. Ask your guests and any members of your healthcare team if they have washed their hands. Healthcare providers should clean their hands before interacting with you. Practicing Hand Hygiene is important even if you are not hospitalized.
Fall prevention should be taken seriously due to the effects a fall can have on your recovery from surgery. With orthopedic surgery no matter how fit you are you are at a high risk of falling. For that reason, at NEBH you will have a yellow band placed on your wrist prior to surgery that will only be removed after careful assessment by the nursing and physical therapy staff. You must always call for assistance when getting out of bed or off a chair/commode/toilet; “Call, don’t Fall” is our rule. No matter how good you are feeling, you’ll be unstable after surgery, and you don’t want to try anything without trained help. Talk with your care team to assess your risk for a fall and for other strategies that you can take to prevent falling.
Medication Safety and Pain Management
Medicines are used to help relieve pain, manage symptoms of chronic diseases and treat infections. Medicines are generally safe when taken as prescribed but there can be risks involved. With any medication it is important to follow directions. Discuss your treatment plan with your physician and care team.
After surgery you can expect that you will experience some pain and discomfort. Pain levels vary depending on the person and the procedure, so our care team will work with you to keep your pain levels tolerable. Talk with your healthcare team about your pain and ask any questions you may have, which will ultimately benefit your recovery.
By following these few steps you can become more involved in your health and become a more informed patient or caregiver.