ALTHOUGH WE USUALLY associate the month of March with the first bloom of flowers, falling in love and the beginning of spring, there is another annual celebration that occurs. March happens to be known as National Patient Safety Awareness Month, which means that as healthcare providers, we want to make sure that we raise awareness on how people can be safe with regard to their health.
When most people hear the phrase, “patient safety,” what immediately comes to mind is the prevention of falls and medication errors. However, patient safety involves many other facets of care. Over the years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has compiled steps that empower patients and their loved ones to become more active in their healthcare decision making. Although they were originally 20 in number, the steps have been decreased to five easy ones to follow to keep people as safe as possible with regard to their health.
The five steps are:
1. Ask questions: If you have concerns, make sure to ask your healthcare provider questions. If you are worried that you might not be able to take in what you hear, try to have a loved one or friend with you.
2. Keep an updated list of current medication handy: It is important to share not only prescription medication but also over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements.
3. Get the results of any test or procedure: This information can be important in defining individualized healthcare plans.
4. Talk to your physician: Discuss your goals of care so that everyone is in agreement.
5. Make sure you understand what will happen during any care you might have.
At Good Shepherd Hospice, every day is devoted to educating our patients and keeping them safe and as comfortable as possible in the place they call home. We are dedicated to ensuring that patients and their families are able to make educated decisions about important healthcare matters. For more information, please call 1-800-544-3280 or visit us at chaptershealth.org/hospice.
This column is sponsored by Good Shepherd Hospice.
column by DR. JOSE FERNANDEZ-SEMIDEY
BIO: Board certified in family medicine, hospice and palliative medicine, Dr. Jose Fernandez-Semidey received his medical degree from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico. He completed his internship and residency at Southwest Georgia Family Medicine Residency in Albany, Georgia, along with a fellowship in palliative medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In 2009, Dr. Fernandez joined Chapters Health and serves the Polk County community as a physician with Good Shepherd Hospice and Chapters Health Palliative Care.