Healthy Tahoe: Patient safety, how you can play a role
March 14-20 is Patient Safety Week, and at Barton Health, we strive to provide consistently exceptional care for our patients and their families all the time. Hospital visits can be an overwhelming experience, but there are some things you can do to help keep you or your loved ones safe.
Focus on balance and strength
Injuries from falls can lead to broken bones, bleeding and even death, and one out of four adults aged 65-plus fall each year. What can you do?
●Improve your strength and balance with exercise. Tai Chi, cardio activity and strength exercises help build muscles and improve balance reducing your chance of falling.
●Have your eyes examined regularly and wear corrective glasses or contacts as prescribed.
●Remove any hazards such as rugs and clutter that can cause you to trip in your home.
●Wear shoes that fit well and support your feet.
Know your meds
Medication errors occur when the wrong medication or correct medication with the wrong dosage are taken. What can you do?
●Fill your prescriptions at one pharmacy. Pharmacists are trained to look for drug interactions.
●Tell your pharmacist all the medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbals, and nutritional supplements you take.
●Read medicine labels each time you take it to ensure you are taking the medicine correctly. Store medications properly and in a safe place out of the reach of children.
●Keep a list of the medications you take. Bring it to all medical appointments and have it ready if you are admitted to the hospital.
Be an advocate
You are your best advocate when it comes to patient safety. Your healthcare providers want you to speak up and ask questions. What can you do?
●Write down questions before your appointment. It’s easy to forget what you want to ask.
●Bring a loved one with you to your appointment. This person can recall and confirm what you heard.
●Become a member of Barton’s Patient Family Advisory Council. Advisors represent patients and families of patients that receive care at Barton Hospital. They work closely with hospital doctors, nurses and administrators to help improve the quality of care.
Dawn Evans, MSN, MBA, RN, PHN, CPPS, CPHQ is the director of patient safety at Barton Health. For more information about joining the Patient and Family Advisory Council, call 530-543-5537 or visit BartonHealth.org/PatientFamilyCouncil.
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