20 Patient Safety Tips

Tips for a Safe and Speedy Recovery

  1. Be actively involved in your heath care.
  2. Make sure that all your doctors know all the medicines you take, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, and herbal and alternative medicines.
  3. Make sure doctors know about allergies or side effects of any medicine.
  4. Make sure you can read your prescription. If you can’t read it, ask the doctor to print it clearly.
  5. Always ask for information about your medicines in terms you can understand – both when your medicines are prescribed and when you receive them. Get it in writing. Ask: What is the medicine for? How am I supposed to take it with other medicines or dietary supplements? What food, drink or activities should I avoid?
  6. When you get your medicine ask: Is this the medicine that my doctor prescribed?
  7. If you have any questions about the directions on your medicine labels, ask for help.
  8. Ask your pharmacist for the best device to measure liquid medicines, and how to use it.
  9. Ask for written information about the possible side effects, in terms you can understand.
  10. Choose a hospital at which many patients have the procedure or surgery you need.
  11. Ask hospital workers directly in contact with you whether they have washed their hands.
  12. When being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home. Get it in writing.
  13. When having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor and your surgeon fully agree on exactly what will be done. If your operation involves one side of your body, consider writing on it or having your surgeon write on the site beforehand.
  14. Speak up if you have questions or concerns.
  15. Make sure that someone, such as your personal physician, is in charge of your care.
  16. Make sure that all health professionals involved in your care have all your important health information.
  17. Ask a family member or friend to be your health care advocate.
  18. Know that “more” is not always better when it comes to tests or treatments.
  19. If you have a test, don’t assume that no news is good news. Ask about the results.
  20. Learn about your condition and treatment by asking your doctor and nurse and by using other reliable sources.