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Patient Safety & Security

Partnering for Safety

Our number one goal is to provide you with safe, high-quality health care. You can help ensure safety by partnering with your care team. Here are a few suggestions.

General Safety

Hand Washing

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to prevent infection. Our staff will wash their hands (or use hand sanitizer) each time they care for you. Don't be afraid to ask if they have washed their hands. You should ask your family and visitors to wash theirs as well.


Respiratory Health

If you've sought care because of a breathing problem, there are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself and others:

  • Let your caregiver know if you are coughing up any sputum.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow rather than directly into the air or your hands.
  • If you are asked to wear a protective mask, please do so.
  • Depending on your illness, staff and visitors may wear masks as well.

Contact Precautions

Depending on your illness, we may need to protect ourselves and others by not directly touching surfaces or articles that you have touched. This is known as contact precautions. Staff and visitors may be required to wear protective gowns and gloves. If you are placed on contact precautions, your caregiver will review the requirements with you.

Identification

Accurate patient identification is essential so staff can easily see who you are. Please wear your plastic identification bracelet at all times. In addition, make sure your caregiver verifies your identification before providing medicine or performing tests or procedures. Please do not wear any colored bracelets unless they are provided for you—with your understanding and consent—by hospital staff for medical alert purposes.

Surgery

If you are here for a surgical or invasive procedure, there are several ways we can keep you safe:

  • Your physician and care team will confirm your identity, and the nature and side, or site, of your procedure with you. If you believe any of this information is incorrect, notify your care team immediately.
  • The side, or site, of your surgery may be marked to ensure the procedure is performed on the correct part of your body. You will be asked to confirm that the correct side, or site, is being marked.
  • You may be given antibiotics before and after your surgery to prevent infection. Let your doctor know if you have any medication allergies. The surgical site may also be cleansed with a disinfectant.

Condition Changes

If they notice any change in condition, patients and their families are asked to immediately seek help from their nurse or charge nurse.

Preparing for Discharge

Be sure you understand your discharge instructions and medication list. Ask for help if you do not. If you are not confident that you can care for yourself after leaving the hospital, a social worker can help with discharge planning.

Other Ways to Keep You Safe

  • Staff will use two methods to identify you, such as your name and birth date or name and medical record number, before performing tests, administering medications, obtaining specimens, etc. This is done for your protection.
  • Please let your physician and staff know about any medications you are taking, allergies and any medication difficulties you have had in the past.
  • You may receive a flu or pneumonia vaccine.
  • Ask for your call bell to be within reach at all times.
  • Ask the nurse to check your IV if you feel any pain or swelling.
  • If you feel unsteady on your feet, or need assistance walking, please let your caregiver know. Additional steps may be taken to keep you from falling.
  • Please ask questions about your care. You have the right to receive relevant information to make informed decisions. If you do not understand what is being explained, or want further information, do not hesitate to ask.

Reporting a Safety Concern

If you feel there is an unsafe situation, or that your care is not as safe as it could be, please alert your nurse or doctor right away.

If your caregiver has not handled your safety concern to your satisfaction, please ask to speak with the unit’s manager or director, who will promptly address your concerns.

If you still feel your concerns have not been resolved, please ask to speak with a patient representative, who can help you report them to the appropriate outside agency.

Fire and Disaster Safety

Drills are held occasionally to prepare for a real emergency. Various bells and alarms sound during these drills. Please remain in your room until the drill is over. In the event of a real emergency, remain in your room until the nursing staff gives you instructions.

Patient Security

All hospital personnel must wear a picture identification badge at all times. If someone without a badge presents themselves as a hospital employee, notify your nurse immediately.

For patient safety, we also require all guests to wear identification badges throughout their visit. If you have a security question or concern, please notify the nursing staff.

Cottage Health has increased security to provide the safest possible environment for our patients, employees, physicians and volunteers. Our responsibility for patient safety begins at the front door.

All patients and visitors are asked for identification and their reason for visiting Cottage Health, and are then issued a guest pass that must be worn while in the hospital. Guest passes are good for only one day, so repeat visitors must check in for a new pass. Greeters are available to help with passes and provide directions to the appropriate department or patient care unit.

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