Tips for Patients: Help Ensure a Safe Hospital Stay

Alaska Regional Hospital encourages all of our patients to take an active role in their own care. This includes taking the following steps prior to and during a hospital stay. Be an involved and informed member of your healthcare team!

Medication Safety

If you are coming to the hospital for a planned procedure or admission, bring your medications and a list of them (including over-the-counter medications) so the nurse and/or physician can review with you.

Do not take ANY medications yourself while you are in the hospital unless you have been instructed to do so.

If you receive a new medication or one you don’t recognize, be sure your nurse explains what the medication is for and the possible side effects.

Infection Prevention

Follow your surgeon’s pre- and post-surgical directions, especially use of the pre-surgery scrub.

Proper hand washing is the #1 protection against infection. Wash with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer often while in the hospital. Make sure everyone entering your room has performed hand hygiene, including family, visitors, nurses, doctors, therapists, etc.

If you’re unsure if your caregiver or physician has washed his/her hands before entering your room, ask them.

If you are placed in precautions while in the hospital, make sure you follow all directions from the nurse and Infection Preventionist. This means that everyone (even family members) who enters your room must wear the appropriate Personal

If you have an IV, urinary catheter, or any other device, ask your caregiver DAILY if you still need it.Protective Equipment such as a gown, gloves, or mask.

If have a urinary catheter in, ask for it to be removed as soon as possible. The longer a catheter is in place, the more opportunity for infection to occur.

Do not touch any device going into your body (IV, urinary catheter, etc.), without performing hand hygiene and wearing gloves. Do not let anyone else touch any device going into your body without performing hand hygiene and wearing gloves – this includes doctors and nursing staff.

If you have pain, itching, redness, or leakage at ANY device or surgical site, report it immediately to your nurse. Often, irritation at a site is a symptom of infection and you can prevent it by making sure that your nurse and doctor know about it as soon as you do.

Patient Identification

If your caregiver has not checked your armband and verified your name and birth date EVERY time he/she gives you a medication or starts a treatment, ask them to do so!

Fall Prevention

Ask for assistance when you need to get in or out of bed. Patients sometimes underestimate the effects of medication, overestimate their strength, and are in an unfamiliar environment. We are here to help, and don’t want you to fall.

Blood Clot Prevention

If you aren’t sure if you’re receiving medications or have mechanical devices on your legs to help prevent blood clots and phlebitis, ask your physician or nurse if you need that protection.

For additional helpful information about your hospital stay, please visit http://alaskaregional.com/patients-visitors/my-hospital-visit/.

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