At Frederick Memorial Hospital, our passion is patient safety. To maintain this focus, FMH created a Patient Safety Committee and several other teams that focus on patient safety areas identified at both the state and national levels as areas in which healthcare providers could have the greatest impact. A system of dashboards was created so that providers could quickly and easily discern their progress in complying with recommended patient safety standards and gauge their effectiveness when compared to like peer groups.
Hospital Compare is the federal governments site that allows you to compare a hospital's competence relative to patient safety. You can see for yourself how FMH is performing relative to other Maryland regional hospitals.
Errors are mistakes that can happen in health care. The government, health care agencies for patient safety, doctors and others are working hard to prevent medical errors. The following tips -- developed based on studies by medical researchers -- cover what you can do to help keep yourself and your family safe.
If you have questions or concerns, ask. If you don't understand, ask again.
- Tell your caregivers important things about your health.
- Make decisions about your health care with your caregivers.
- Ask about safety (i.e., ask the doctor to mark the area to be operated upon before going to surgery).
- Tell your caregiver if you think you are about to receive the wrong medication, test, or treatment.
- Tell your caregiver if you think they have confused you with another patient.
Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common healthcare mistakes.
- Bring all of your medications or a complete list with the dosages and times you take them to the doctor's office when you have an appointment and to the hospital when you visit.
To help you keep track of your medications, here is a Medication Log Sheet
you can print out, fill out and bring with you everytime you come to the hospital.
- Include everything that you put into - or on - your body (like cold medicine, aspirin, vitamins, herbs, creams, lotions and rubs).
- Ask about the purpose of the medications offered to you and their side effects.
- Make sure you know what times of the day you should take the medication, if you need to take it with food, and how much each time.
- If you do not recognize a medication, ask us to verify that it is for you. We never mind you asking and taking an active role in your care.
- Tell your caregivers about allergies you have, or negative reactions you have had to medications in the past.
- If you are taking multiple medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to take those medications together.
- Ask your doctor or nurse if they have done medication reconciliation to make sure you are getting all the medications you need and none that you shouldn't.
- Read this Patient Fact Sheet (PDF) from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality - "20 Tips to Prevent Medical Errors".
Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you are getting the right treatments and medications by the right healthcare professionals.
- Notice whether your caregivers have washed their hands or used the gel in the container on the wall and gently remind them if they have not. Hand washing is the most important way to prevent the spread of infections.
- Make sure that you, your family and friends and your caregivers use the proper gowns, gloves and masks if you are on isolation to prevent the spread of infection.
- Make sure your caregiver confirms your identity (asks your name and date of birth) before administering any medication or treatment.
- Make sure your wristband is correct. It should have your name and date of birth on it.
- Expect healthcare workers to introduce themselves and look for their identification badges.
- Educate yourself about your diagnosis, medical tests, and treatment plan.
- Gather information about your condition and your test results, and write down important facts.
- Know how to prepare for tests or procedures by asking questions.
- Thoroughly read all medical forms before you sign anything. If you don't understand, ask your doctor or nurse to explain them.
- Make sure you are familiar with the operation of any equipment that is being used in your care.
Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.
- Your advocate can ask questions that you may not think of while you are under stress.
- Make sure this person understands your preferences for care and your wishes concerning resuscitation and life support.
- Make sure your advocate understands the type of care you will need when you get home. Your advocate should know what to look for if your condition is getting worse and who to call for help.
Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the healthcare team.
- You and your doctor should agree on exactly what will be done during each step of your care.
- Know who will be taking care of you, how long the treatment will last, and how you should feel after the treatment.
- Understand that more tests or medications may not always be better. Ask your doctor what a new test or medication is likely to achieve.
- Maintain a copy of your health history to share with your healthcare team.
- Don't be afraid to ask for a second opinion.
- Ask if there are support groups or individuals who are willing to talk with you about their experience.
If you see anything that concerns you regarding patient safety, please talk to your healthcare provider or contact Service Excellence at 240-566-3564.