Become Engaged

 Become Engaged

A safe patient is an engaged patient. In fact, patient and fam­i­ly engage­ment (some­times called patient and fam­i­ly cen­tered care) is con­sid­ered the gold stan­dard in safe hos­pi­tal care. It puts the patient at the very heart of the care team. It rec­og­nizes that he or she has the right to be informed and con­sult­ed about every phase of care and to be treat­ed with respect and com­pas­sion. It sup­ports the vital role that fam­i­lies play when a loved one is hos­pi­tal­ized and struc­tures hos­pi­tal poli­cies, like unre­strict­ed vis­it­ing hours, to reflect that real­i­ty.  

True patient and fam­i­ly engage­ment has con­sis­tent­ly been shown to con­tribute to more pos­i­tive out­comes for patients and fam­i­lies.

To stay safe, patients and fam­i­lies need to be vig­i­lant, ask ques­tions and be ready to act if things don’t seem right. True patient and fam­i­ly engage­ment has con­sis­tent­ly been shown to con­tribute to more pos­i­tive out­comes for patients and fam­i­lies. You should look on the provider’s web­site for more infor­ma­tion about where it stands on both patient-centered care and patient and fam­i­ly engage­ment. Find the lat­est patient safe­ty scores for your hos­pi­tal (such as those com­piled by The Leapfrog Group, as well as patient sat­is­fac­tion sur­vey results from oth­er sources. But remem­ber, even in top-rated hos­pi­tals, some of the worst instances of med­ical errors and patient harm have occurred.  

Anoth­er cau­tion: for the most part, rat­ing agen­cies rely upon sta­tis­tics that the hos­pi­tals them­selves pro­vide. Most are nev­er inde­pen­dent­ly ver­i­fied and can be sub­ject to wish­ful think­ing, at the very least.

Keep a com­pre­hen­sive jour­nal of your hos­pi­tal stay, or your loved one’s, from start to fin­ish.  If you’re a fam­i­ly mem­ber, make sure you have it with you while vis­it­ing. Make detailed notes about the care that is being pro­vid­ed, as well as any sig­nif­i­cant con­ver­sa­tions and inter­ac­tions with health­care pro­fes­sion­als or hos­pi­tal admin­is­tra­tors.  Always make sure to get their name and occu­pa­tion or posi­tion in the hos­pi­tal.  

Med­ical records (which include, for exam­ple, doctor’s orders, progress notes, med­ica­tion admin­is­tra­tion charts and test results) don’t always tell the whole sto­ry when it comes to hos­pi­tal harm. Vital infor­ma­tion may be left out. If you have your own accu­rate record, that can help in forc­ing prop­er dis­clo­sure and account­abil­i­ty.  Make sure you know about the provider’s com­plaint process and the means of esca­lat­ing con­cerns if you feel you are not being lis­tened to or if you see signs of dete­ri­o­ra­tion occur­ring in the patient’s con­di­tion with­out ade­quate expla­na­tion or atten­tion.

Your engage­ment as a patient or fam­i­ly mem­ber is key to keep­ing safe.  We have cre­at­ed a num­ber of tools and resources on this site to help you in that mis­sion.  You may wish to look at our take on what patients and fam­i­lies want in their hos­pi­tal expe­ri­ence. This is what we have been con­sis­tent­ly told by patients and fam­i­lies around the world.  It is the cor­ner­stone of hos­pi­tal prac­tices that are patient and fam­i­ly engagement-friendly. 

One way or anoth­er, we all pay the costs of med­ical errors — as patients and fam­i­lies, con­sumers, employ­ers and tax­pay­ers.

One way or anoth­er, we all pay the costs of med­ical errors — as patients and fam­i­lies, con­sumers, employ­ers and tax­pay­ers. But even if you’re not a patient or a fam­i­ly mem­ber, you have a stake in stop­ping this dead­ly, and cost­ly, epi­dem­ic of harm. One way or anoth­er, we all pay the costs of med­ical errors — as patients and fam­i­lies, con­sumers, employ­ers and tax­pay­ers. If we’re lucky, we’ll just pay in high­er health insur­ance pre­mi­ums and increased tax­es. Med­ical errors in hos­pi­tals add tens of bil­lions of dol­lars to health­care bills every year.  Some actu­ar­i­al experts have put the total fig­ure, includ­ing direct and indi­rect costs, at clos­er to one tril­lion dol­lars annu­al­ly. But the sad fact is that too many of us pay for this avoid­able epi­dem­ic with much more than high­er insur­ance pre­mi­ums and tax bills.

We pay for it with the lives of our loved ones and the dev­as­ta­tion of our fam­i­lies.  

Take a look at our projects and caus­es. Become a cham­pi­on of patient safe­ty your­self. Let us know how you would like to help. If you have a sto­ry about med­ical harm, con­sid­er shar­ing it.  Help pro­mote our cam­paign to make Patient  Pro­tec­tion 1st  on your web­site or blog, or on Twit­ter, Face­book and oth­er social media.  Tell us about your ideas to end the epi­dem­ic of hos­pi­tal harm and how we can improve our mes­sage.

Togeth­er, we can shine a dis­in­fect­ing spot­light where it belongs: on the dev­as­ta­tion caused by the epi­dem­ic of hos­pi­tal harm and the steps need­ed to end it — start­ing with what works best for patients and fam­i­lies, and by mak­ing Patient Pro­tec­tion 1st in every aspect of care.

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