Safety Policies

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At Holy Spirit, we are continually monitoring, evaluating and improving our safety procedures.

Code H (Help)

By partnering with patients and families, Holy Spirit Hospital strives to provide the highest level of quality health care. Families contribute to our team-based approach to care. 

Patients and families are encouraged to seek assistance and notify health care team members of their concerns. If you have concerns about a change in the patient’s clinical condition or situation that you feel is not being recognized, please dial ext. 5000. Our CODE H (help) Team will respond to your concerns. Early response is our goal. Listening to you is our primary focus.

If you have questions or concerns regarding our CODE HELP option, please talk with one of your healthcare providers.

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Antibiotic Cautions

Antibiotics should not be taken unnecessarily. This can lead to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. Using antibiotics can cause serious side effects. If you develop abdominal pain or diarrhea after taking antibiotics (even up to eight weeks after taking the antibiotic), call your physician immediately! Do not take over-the-counter diarrhea remedies.

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Patient Safety

Holy Spirit Hospital has always put patient safety first. One of the keys to patient safety is involving the patient in his or her care. Please take a few minutes to read the following information to learn how you can become involved in your own safety and what questions you should ask when you are a patient. And, as always, if you are a patient, please speak up if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help you. Your well-being is our primary concern.

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Medical Errors

Medical errors are incidents that shouldn’t happen during a patient’s care. Medical errors can involve medications, surgery, diagnosis, equipment, lab results and more. They can occur in hospitals, clinics, outpatient surgery centers, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, pharmacies and in your own home. Medical errors can happen during even the most routine practice, such as when a hospital patient on a salt-free diet is given a high-salt meal. Sometimes a patient’s outcome from a medical or surgical procedure is not what the patient or the doctor expected. However, these situations are not necessarily the result of a medical error. 

The single most important way you can help to prevent medical errors is to be an active member of your health care team.

• Make sure that someone, such as your Primary Care Physician (PCP) oversees your care.

• Make sure that all of your doctors know about every prescription and over-the-counter medicine, including vitamins and herbs, you are taking.

• If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your PCP and your surgeon agree on exactly what will be done.

• Speak up if you have questions or concerns.

• Ask a family member or friend to be with you to be your advocate (someone who can speak up for you if you can’t).

• Ask about test results. Do not assume that no news is good news.

• Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor and nurse and by using other reliable sources. One way to make sure that you remember to get answers to all of your questions is to write them down.

• If you are having a surgical or invasive procedure done, be involved with your caregivers in identifying the site prior to the procedure.

• If you are in the hospital, consider asking all healthcare workers who have direct contact with you whether they have washed their hands.

• Make sure your doctor and pharmacist know about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medications.

• When your doctor gives you a prescription, make sure you can read it.

• Ask for written information about your medications, such as side effects, in terms you can understand, both when your medicines are prescribed and when you receive them.

• When you are being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.

• When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, ask: “Is this the medicine that my doctor prescribed?”

• If you have any questions about the directions on your medication labels, ask the pharmacist.

• Know that more is not always better. Be sure to take your medications only as prescribed.

• Ask your pharmacist for the best device to measure your liquid medicine.

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Certain conditions will make you more likely to fall and suffer other accidental injuries, including:

• Taking multiple medications. The more medications you take, the more likely you are to experience dizziness or other side effects. Tell all of your healthcare providers about all of the medications you take. Ask them about any side effects that might place you at risk for falls. Your Primary Care Provider should know about all of your medications.

• Walking difficulties. If you are weak, shuffle, can’t stand up straight, are unable to walk a straight line or have numbness or tingling in your legs or toes, you are at risk of falling. Ask your doctor about assistive devices such as a cane or walker. Learn how to use them correctly.

• Chronic 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. If you are falling frequently, see your doctor. It’s important to find out why you are falling.

• Fear of falling. Do not limit your normal activities. Inactivity can actually lead to more falls because you will lose muscle strength. Your doctor can recommend an exercise program to increase your muscle strength and coordination which may reduce your risk of falling. If you feel unsteady on your feet, talk to your doctor. You may benefit from a cane or walker.

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In order to prevent falls in the hospital:

• Always follow your physician’s orders and the nurses’ instructions. If they tell you that you must stay in bed or need assistance to go to the bathroom, you should call for help when you need something.

• When you need assistance, use your call bell on your bed or in the bathroom and wait for the nurse/assistant to arrive to help you. Remain lying or seated while waiting for assistance. Please be patient. Someone will answer your call as promptly as possible.

• Ask the nurse for help if you feel dizzy or weak getting out of bed. Remember you are more likely to faint or feel dizzy after sitting or lying for a long time. If you must get up without waiting for help, sit in bed awhile before standing. Then rise carefully and slowly begin to walk.

• Wear non-skid slippers whenever you walk in the hospital. If you don’t have any, ask your nurse for non-skid slippers.

• When out of bed, walk slowly and carefully. Do not lean or support yourself on furniture, rolling objects such as IV poles or your bedside table.

• Family members should not raise or lower side rails without first talking with your nurse. In many cases, raised side rails are no longer considered a safety measure.

If you were injured, wish to report an adverse event, want to discuss concerns you have about the quality of care you received or an unanticipated outcome, or wish to offer suggestions for patient safety, please call our Patient Safety Message Center at 972-7100 and leave a message. Messages are retrieved daily, during normal business hours. A staff member will return your call. 

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Preventing Wrong-Site Surgery

• The nurse and doctor will ask who you are and about the surgery a few times while you are in the hospital. 

• Know which doctor is in charge of your care and ask the doctor to introduce themselves.

• Always give staff your full name and birth date. 

• Make sure that you and your doctor all agree and are clear on exactly what surgery will be performed.

• Ask questions if you don’t understand what you are being told. Speak up with questions or concerns. 

• Some tests require the site of your surgery to be marked. Ask the doctor if he or she needs to mark the surgical site while you are watching. 

• Make sure you share your medical history and any allergies or food/drug reactions with all the healthcare providers. 

• Educate yourself and consider a second opinion.

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Side Rail Safety

We would like to help make your stay with us as safe as possible. It is important to note that all four side rails of the bed cannot be kept in the upright position at all times unless we have a doctor’s order. The use of all four sides is considered to be a restraint device. According to the national statistics on falls, when all four side rails are in the upright position, a patient who wishes to leave the bed may decide to climb over the side rails, increasing their risk of injury. When one side rail is kept down, the patient is able to get out of bed easier, lessening their chance of injury.

Here are a few tips you can use to reduce your chance of injury:

• You and/or a family member can provide helpful information when the caregiver is obtaining your medical history and determining if you are at risk for falls.

• Please tell your doctor if you are concerned about falling. He/she can write the appropriate orders for restraint devices.

• If your hospitalized family member is confused, please ask for extended visiting hours so someone can be with them for more of the day.

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Patients are VIPs

VIP stands for Verify, Identify and Proceed. During your stay at Holy Spirit Hospital, we will ask you to verify your full name and birth date each and every time before we give medications or perform any procedures or tests. It’s not that we don’t know who you are. We do this to ensure you are provided with the proper medications, procedures and tests.

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If you are taking medications, leave them at home, but bring a list of these medications with you. If you enter the hospital through the Emergency Center and have medications with you, they will be sent home with a family member.

Medications are provided by the hospital’s Pharmacy. For safe medication use and cleanliness, Holy Spirit Hospital packages each patient’s dose individually to the greatest extent possible.

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Fire Drills

Fire drills are conducted periodically to familiarize hospital staff with emergency practices. If you hear fire bells, stay calm, and remain where you are. Our staff will provide you with instructions and assistance to ensure your safety.

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