South West Healthcare is committed to providing our consumers with the safest possible care. Despite our commitment to providing safe, effective, high quality, person centred care, there are still risks when spending time in hospital. We also know that if patients are involved in their care whilst in hospital, they tend to do better and stay safer. By working together as part of the healthcare team you can lower your risk of injury and make your stay in hospital as safe as possible.
To help keep safe in hospital you and your family should:
If you have any concerns about the quality or safety of your care, speak with the nurse or doctor looking after you. You can also talk with the nursing unit manager or department head.
You will be given an identification band when you’re admitted to hospital. Staff may refer to it as an ‘ID band’ or a ‘wrist band’. It will include your name and date of birth, and be placed on your wrist or leg.
Staff should check your ID band before every test or procedure and before giving you any medication. They will also ask you what your name is and other details, to make sure that the right patient is getting the right treatment every time.
All our hospital staff should be wearing an identification badge. If you can’t see their badge, or you’re not sure who someone is, please ask.
The best way to help prevent infection during your stay is to wash your hands often and well. This also includes anyone who comes to visit you including family and friends, nurses and doctors. It is ok to ask health care workers to wash their hands before providing your care.
Use soap and water or alcohol based hand rub to keep your hands clean.
Other ways to help prevent infections during your stay:
Medication is an important part of your treatment. When you come to hospital, we will ask you about the medicines you take. Please tell us if you are using:
You can help ensure safe medication use by:
It is important that you talk to your doctor about your medications prior to surgery. You need to understand if you should take your usual medication on the day of your surgery. Herbal or natural supplements should be stopped seven days prior to your procedure.
If you have diabetes, talk to your surgeon for a pre-operative plan before admission.
It is vital that you also inform your doctor and us if you have had any allergies or previous reactions to medications, food or latex etc. and the severity of that reaction.
Falls are the most common cause of injury in hospital and can delay your recovery. Falling over is more likely in hospital because you’re in an unfamiliar environment and may be physically weaker than usual.
It’s important that you, your family and staff all work together to reduce the risk of falls by:
A pressure injury, also known as a bedsore or ulcer, can form when you sit or lie in the same position for a long time. The risk of a pressure injury increases if you have to stay in bed, have poor circulation or you’re not eating well.
A pressure injury can look like a reddened or blistered area on the skin. Bony parts of the body like the heels, tailbone, toes and back of your head are at most risk of a pressure injury.
To help prevent a pressure injury you can:
We prepare a pressure injury management plan for every patient who will be staying overnight in hospital. Ask your nurse to explain the plan to you.
Patients who can move easily are encouraged to move and change position regularly. Those who are unable to move independently are assisted by staff to change their position and ensure there is no prolonged pressure on any area of the body. We provide a balanced diet and a dietician may visit you to ensure you are receiving all the nutrients needed to maintain the skin and circulation.
Additional prevention strategies include the use of equipment such as air mattresses and heel protectors to relieve pressure in areas of the body that may be of concern.
It is important to recognise and manage pressure injuries early. They can occur quickly and prolong your recovery and impact on your general health.
Early signs of a pressure injury can include:
Eating well in hospital is important. It can help you recover from your illness more quickly and allow you to go home sooner.
Unfortunately many people are at risk of becoming under-nourished when they are in hospital. Older people are particularly at risk. Many people also need help and encouragement to eat and drink, to reach their meal tray, open packaging and to ensure they receive the right food and drinks for them.
You can help by letting the staff know which food and drink is not appropriate for you and what assistance you may need at mealtime.
When you arrive at hospital please tell staff if you have:
Please tell us if you take nutritional supplement drinks.
At mealtimes ask for help
Please inform staff of your needs as early as possible so that we can give you the care you need.
Staff can help with:
Track your weight changes
Ask to be weighed on admission and at regular intervals during your time in hospital as your weight may change without you noticing.
Ask about other nutritional support
We can bring you snacks or nutritional supplement drinks between meals. Just ask to see the dietitian who can arrange this for you. These are particularly important if you are having smaller main meals.
Don’t forget to drink regularly. Aim for 6 glasses of fluid a day unless staff has advised you otherwise.