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Patient Safety

We are committed to providing the best and safest care possible to you and your family if you are a patient at Sanford Worthington Medical Center (SWMC). We ask you and your family to join us to make sure that our care meets your needs and encourage you to let us know when it does not.

One of our goals is to encourage and support open and honest communication with you, your family, and your health care team. We encourage you, your family, and the health care team to speak up if there is a safety concern. It is our policy to be open and honest with you and your family by informing you of the potential results of your care, including unexpected results. We encourage you to designate a family spokesperson to help with communication with your family and the health care team.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss the care you receive. If you have comments, questions, or concerns, please contact us. We encourage you to complete a Patient Satisfaction survey if one is sent to you after you leave the hospital. We survey our patients to learn about your hospital experience. Your ratings and comments are valuable tools that help us make improvements in the care we provide to our patients.

So, as Partners in Your Care, We Will -

  • LISTEN and respond to your thoughts, questions and concerns
  • CLEAN our hands before caring for you
  • CHECK your identification in two ways
  • CONFIRM the right medication is given at the right time and the right procedure is performed
  • DISCUSS thoroughly the care and medications you will receive
  • STOP if you feel something needs to be double checked
  • If we don't, ASK us why!

What Can You Do to Make Your Health Care Safer?

  • Become a more informed health care consumer. It is up to you to learn as much as you can about your care and treatment. The most important way you can help to prevent medical errors is to be an active and informed member of the health care team. Write down the questions you have about your condition, treatment, and medications. Take notes about what you learn.
  • Keep track of and share your medical information. Write down and carry important medical information with you. Keep a list of medical history, office visits, and medication use. Medical information should include allergies and the names, addresses and phone numbers of important health care providers.
  • Involve a family member or friend in your care. Bring a family member or friend who knows your medical history and who can also ask questions. This can help to ensure the best care possible. Family members often provide the comfort and support needed to promote your return to good health.
  • Follow the treatment plan agreed upon by you and your doctor / health care provider. Make sure you understand the plan of treatment. Ask the nurse or doctor to explain any test results and the plan of treatment. If anything is not clear, speak up and ask questions.
  • Wash your hands. Patients, family members and caregivers should wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection.

Tips for Taking Your Medications Safely

  • Ask questions if you have doubts or concerns about your medications. Make sure you understand the answers you receive. Choose a pharmacist or doctor you feel comfortable talking with about your health and medications.
    Write a list or bring a bag with ALL the medications you take to your medical appointments. This includes over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements. Tell your health care providers if you are allergic to any medications.
  • Make sure your medication is what the doctor ordered and know how to take it correctly. Does it look different than what you have taken before? Does the medication seem different than what your doctor wrote on the prescription? If something seems wrong, ask the pharmacist, doctor or nurse to check it. Most errors are first discovered by patients.
  • Ask about side effects and what to avoid while taking the medication. Read the label and other information that you receive when you get your medication, including all warnings and dosage information. If there are any words you don’t understand, ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse to explain them in plain language.
  • Check with your pharmacist or doctor to see whether you need laboratory tests to monitor how your medications are working. Some medications may affect your liver or other organs and require regular laboratory tests to make sure they aren’t causing harmful side effects.

Preparing for Surgery

  • Ask questions prior to surgery. Talk to the doctor and nurse about any concerns.
  • Talk about the procedure. Make sure that you, the doctor and surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what is going to be done.
  • Mark the area. Make sure the body area to be operated on is clearly marked.
  • Speak Up if you have any questions!