Safety Policies to Protect Patients and Families

Below is a current list of policies and services created to keep patients and families safe.

Code H (Help) Team

If you are worried about a change in condition, quality of care or any other issue, please dial ext. 5000. Our Code H (Help) Team will respond quickly.

Antibiotic Cautions

Never take antibiotics unnecessarily. Overuse can lead to resistant bacteria. If you develop abdominal pain or diarrhea after taking antibiotics (even up to eight weeks later), call your physician immediately.

Medical Errors

Medical errors can happen during any type of medical care in any care setting.

Ways to prevent errors:

  • Make sure that your Primary Care Physician (PCP) oversees your care.
  • Always find out the results of medical tests.
  • Ask questions. Write them down.
  • Ask a family member or friend to speak up for you.
  • Ask all health care workers who have direct contact with you whether or not they have washed their hands.
  • At discharge, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.
  • Make sure that you, your PCP and your surgeon agree on exactly what will be done during an operation.
  • Tell all of your doctors and pharmacists about every prescription and over-the-counter medicine you take, including vitamins and herbs.
  • Report allergies and adverse reactions.
  • Ask for clear, understandable information about your medications, including side effects and dose.
  • Make sure you can read your doctors’ writing on prescriptions.
  • Take medications only as prescribed.

Falls

Certain conditions will make you more likely to fall and injure yourself.

 

Risk Factors for Falls

  • Taking multiple medications
  • Walking difficulties
  • Conditions that interfere with thinking, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
  • Impaired vision or hearing
  • Two or more falls in the past six months
  • Fear of falling

Do not limit your normal activities because of fear. Inactivity can actually lead to more falls because you will lose muscle strength. If you feel unsteady on your feet, ask your doctor to recommend an exercise program, cane or walker.

Preventing Falls in the Hospital

  • Always follow your physician’s orders. If you are told that you must stay in bed or need assistance to go to the bathroom, use your call bell. Remain lying down or seated while waiting for help. If you must get up, sit up in bed for a while before standing to prevent dizziness or fainting.
  • Whenever you’re out of bed, walk slowly and carefully, wearing non-skid slippers. Do not lean on furniture or IV poles.
  • Provide a complete medical history.
  • Tell your doctor if you are concerned about falling.
  • If your hospitalized family member is confused, ask for extended visiting hours so someone can be with him or her more often.

Side Rail Safety

Unsafe use of side rails can increase risk of patient injury.

All four side rails of the bed cannot be kept in the upright position at all times without a doctor’s order. If a patient climbs over the rails, it can increase risk of injury. When one side rail is kept down, the patient is able to get out of bed more easily, lessening the chances of injury.

Preventing Wrong-Site Surgery

Wrong-site surgery is when a procedure is performed on the wrong part or side of the body, or the wrong patient, or when the wrong type of surgery is performed.

  • Know which doctor is in charge of your care and confirm his or her name at every visit.
  • Always give staff your full name and birth date.
  • Make sure that you and your doctor agree on exactly what surgery will be performed.
  • Ask the doctor to mark the surgical site while you are watching.
  • Ask questions and voice concerns.
  • Share your medical history, including any allergies or food/drug interactions, with all of your health care providers.
  • Learn about your condition and consider getting a second opinion.

Patients Are VIPs

The VIP policy ensures that you receive the proper medications, procedures and tests. The three steps of VIP are:

Verify: We ask you to verify your full name and birth date each time we give medications or perform any procedures.
Identify: We compare that information with the information on your wristband.
Proceed: We proceed with care.

Medication Safety

To ensure safety and cleanliness, the medications you take during your stay are provided by the hospital’s pharmacy. Bring a list of your medications with you to the hospital, but leave the actual medications at home.

Fire Drills

Periodically, we conduct fire drills. If you hear bells, stay calm and remain where you are. Our staff will provide you with instructions to ensure your safety.

Reporting Safety Issues

Please call our Patient Safety Message Center at 717-972-7100 to report an adverse event, discuss concerns about quality care or offer safety suggestions.

© 2014 Holy Spirit — A Geisinger Affiliate