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How do you keep me safe in the hospital?

Every member of UAB Medicine is dedicated to keeping every patient safe. You will be given an ID bracelet with your name, date of birth and medical record number when you are admitted to the hospital. Make sure your care team knows who you are and checks your ID bracelet before every examination and treatment. Please do not remove the bracelet until you are discharged from the hospital.

We are also careful to prevent falls, avoid medication mix-ups, and prevent blood clots. In addition, we require all staff to clean their hands prior to entering a patient room and before any hands-on care. We encourage you to ask anyone who will have contact with you if they have cleaned their hands. Don’t be shy – help us by being a partner in your care! Inform your nursing staff if you have any safety concerns at the hospital. You will have an opportunity to bring up any safety issues during the frequent “rounding” that our staff conducts in your room or a waiting area.

The use of restraints to prevent harm to a patient sounds like a frightening concept that doesn’t fit the definition of responsible patient care. UAB Medicine’s goal is to use restraints only when we are concerned that you may harm yourself and only after other options have been tried. Through research and practice, we have identified alternatives to restraints such as distractions, comfort measures, and allowing family to be with you as much as possible. Restraints will be considered only as a last resort for your safety, and even then, we would use comfortable, minimally restrictive options for the least amount of time. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to discuss them with your caregiver.

If you feel overwhelmed or need emotional support, please talk with your nurse or nurse manager. They can assist you in determining the best resources available and help make arrangements for your care.

If you or your family have any patient safety concerns or questions during your stay, you are encouraged to contact the Patient Safety Office at 205-996-SAFE (7233) or your patient advocate by dialing *55 on any hospital phone.

Your Medications

Tell your care team about ALL medications you are taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and any herbal, vitamin, or nutritional supplements. Carry a list of your medications, dosages, and supplements at all times, and make sure your care team is aware of any allergies. While in the hospital, please do not take any of your medications from home without first talking with your care team. Your physician or nurse should discuss any new medications or changes in medications with you.

Preventing Falls

Preventing falls is important to us, and your safety is our top priority. If you have a history of falling, tell a member of you care team. Always ask for help when getting up, especially if you are lightheaded, weak, or unstable on your feet. Your care team will assist you in daily activities such as personal hygiene, walking, and getting out of bed.

Blood Clots

A blood clot, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), is a condition we want to prevent while you are in our hospital. DVT is best prevented by moving your feet and legs and turning yourself over in bed at least every two hours. Your doctors and nurses may give you medicine, stockings, or leg wraps to help. If you have problems breathing or are coughing up blood, tell a member of your care team immediately.

Hand Hygiene

UAB Hospital requires hand washing for all care providers and staff prior to any hands-on care with patients. Hand washing is the single most important precaution that can be taken to prevent the spread of infection. Therefore, we encourage our patients, families, and guests to frequently wash their hands. We provide alcohol-based hand rub in all patient care areas and encourage you to ask anyone who will have contact with you if they have cleaned their hands. Do not be shy. They will not mind. Help us by becoming a partner in your care!

ID Bracelet

You will be given an ID bracelet with your name, date of birth, and medical record number when you are admitted to the hospital. The ID bracelet ensures we are providing care to the right patient at the right time. Make sure your care team knows who you are and checks your ID bracelet before examination and treatment. Additional ID bracelets may be added for specific needs, such as being at risk for falls. For your safety, please do not remove the bracelet(s) until you are discharged from the hospital.

Condition-HELP (5-6000)

You know your loved one best. That’s why UAB offers Condition-HELP, an important patient safety initiative that gives families an immediate voice in their loved one’s care. Please notify our rapid-response emergency team by dialing 5-6000 from any UAB phone if you feel there is a breakdown in communication and your loved one is in danger of a medical emergency. Condition-HELP is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Your medical team is your first point of contact, and you should only use Condition-HELP after you have spoken to them.

When to call: Trouble breathing – Confusion – Inability to talk – Weakness or numbness – Unable to wake up – Breakdown in how care is given – Urgent need is not being addressed

For our RNICU and CCN patients: The bond between a parent and child is extremely special. You sense and see changes in your baby that allow you to serve as their voice. When you call Condition-HELP, the emergency team will evaluate the situation, and if further care is needed, they will notify a neonatal specialist.

Pain Management

Make sure you tell us if you have pain, so that we can control it during your stay. Additional ways to control pain may include relaxation techniques, hot or cold therapy, and deep breathing exercises. Please let us know what works best for you so that we can help! You can also watch the Care Channel on your television, which provides relaxing images and music to help ease discomfort and pain.

Remember! You are not complaining when you tell us about your pain. Pain relief is important to your recovery.

Pain Scale

Pressure Ulcer Prevention

Lying in bed for long periods of time without moving can lead to pressure ulcers or damage to the skin, also called bed sores. To prevent pressure ulcers, your care team will help you get out of bed, keep you clean and dry, and make sure you get enough nutrition. If you are unable to turn or get up, they will turn you frequently. Pressure-relieving devices such as foam dressings, wedges, and boots may also be used.

Keywords: patient safety, safety issues

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