A safe patient is a protected patient. But you need to take steps as a patient or family member to ensure that protection.
Let your healthcare professionals know that you expect them to follow every means to keep you safe. Ask questions and speak up if you have any doubts about what is happening. If you see or feel something that does not seem right, say something.
Most patients and families are unaware that preventable medical errors and hospital-acquired infections occur in hospitals every day. They claim hundreds of thousands of lives each year and leave many more that number injured and emotionally traumatized.
Knowing certain key realities of hospital care today can help you or a family member to minimize the risk of harm. The first, which many patients and families do not know, is that preventable medical errors and infections occur in hospitals every day. They claim hundreds of thousands of lives in the United States and Canada every year and leave many times that number injured and emotionally traumatized. In fact, hospital harm is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and Canada. Most of this harm is avoidable.
You need to be especially alert to the risk of infections in hospitals (which take more than 100,000 lives among U.S. and Canadian patients every year), as well as the danger of falls, pressure ulcers, surgical mishaps and medication errors. Most hospitals know what the best practices are for reducing these risks. You may wish to have a discussion with your clinical care team members about what they are doing to minimize them in your case. You can find more information below.
We have included a number of resources, including videos, on this site to help keep patients protected and to help families and providers to make patient protection first. Here are some other helpful links.
- Speak Up to Prevent Medical Errors (Joint Commission)
- Know Your Rights (Joint Commission)
- 30 Safe Practices for Better Health Care (AHRQ)
- 20 Tips to Prevent Medical Errors (AHRQ)
- 10 Things You Can Do to be a Safe Patient (CDC)
- Top 10 ways Ways to Improve Patient Safety Now (AMA)
- 5 Steps to Safer Healthcare (AHRQ)
- 3 R’s for Safer Care Now (The Center for Patient Protection)
You can also check out our Ten Reasons for Making Patient Protection 1stSM, which sets out the kind of care you are entitled to expect and the best providers always deliver.
When it comes right down to it, no patient or family can ever be expected to know all the steps that can and should be taken in their care; but they can and should expect that healthcare workers and professionals do and will. Nor can they know all the evidence-based recommendations and best practices that should be followed for their safety; but they are entitled to rely upon providers and professionals to follow them.
Making sure that more patients and families insist upon a safer healthcare culture, and more providers respond to that call, is the driving force behind the creation of The Center for Patient Protection and its campaign to make Patient Protection 1stSM.
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