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We are committed to your safety, we are making every effort to prevent medical errors, and we support the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) “Speak Up” campaign. Please play a vital role in making your health care safe by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your health care team. We encourage you to S-P-E-A-K U-P and make your care a positive experience:

S peak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don't understand as again. You have a right to know.

P ay attention to the care you receive. Make sure you get the right treatments and medications by the right health care professionals.

  • Tell your doctor or nurse if something doesn't seem quite right.
  • Expect health care workers to introduce themselves when they enter your room. Find out who they are by looking at their identification badges.
  • Notice whether your caregivers have washed their hands.
  • Know what time of day you normally receive a medication.
  • Make sure your doctor or nurse confirms your identity prior to the administration of any medication or treatment.

E ducate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you undergo, and your treatment plan.

  • Ask your doctor about the specialized training and experience that qualifies him or her to treat your illness.
  • Gather information about your condition.
  • Write down important facts your doctor tells you so that you can look for additional information later.

A sk a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.

  • Your advocate can ask questions you may not think of while you are under stress.
  • Ask this person to stay with you, even overnight, when you are hospitalized.
  • Your advocate can also help remember answers to questions you have asked, and may speak up for you if you cannot.

K now what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common health care mistakes.

  • Ask the purpose of the medication and ask for written information about it, including its brand and generic names.
  • If you do not recognize a medication, verify that it is for you.
  • Whenever you are going to receive a new medication, tell your doctors and nurses about allergies you have or negative reactions to past medications.

U se a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has undergone a rigorous on-site evaluation against established, state-of-the-art quality and safety standards, such as that provided by JCAHO.

  • Ask about the health care organization's experience in treating your type of illness.
  • Before you leave the health clinic, ask about follow-up care and make sure you understand all of the instructions.

P articipate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care 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 lasts, and how you should feel.
  • Understand that most tests or medications may not always be better.
  • Keep copies of your medical records from your previous hospitalizations and share them with your health care team.