Safety and Legal Topics

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Safety

Your Safety Is Our Priority: Speak Up!

Everyone has a role in making health care safe. That includes doctors, health care executives, nurses and many health care technicians. Health care organizations all across the country are working to make health care safe. As a patient, you can make your care safer by being an active, involved and informed member of your health care team.

  • Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you still don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.
  • Pay attention to the care you get. Always make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicines by the right health care professionals. Don’t assume anything.
  • Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get, and your treatment plan.
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).
  • Know what medicines you take and why you take them. Medicine errors are the most common health care mistakes.
  • Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has been carefully checked out. For example, The Joint Commission visits hospitals to see if they are meeting The Joint Commission’s quality standards.
  • Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

For more information, contact the Patient Relations Department at 513 862 2582. We encourage you and your family to share your concerns with your caregiver or the department supervisor. For more detailed information, visit The Joint Commission.

Safety Reminders

Prevent falls by following these tips:

  • Put things you use most within easy reach.
  • When getting out of bed, sit up first, then dangle your legs over the edge of the bed. Wait a full minute before standing. Doing so will help you keep your balance.
  • If you feel dizzy or weak, call for help.
  • Always wear skid-proof slippers or shoes.
  • Do not use your bedside table/over-bed table as a means of support, since the table is on wheels.
  • Always use grab bars and handrails for support in your bathroom.
  • Ask for assistance when needed and follow the directions of your caregiver.

Preventing Medication Mistakes

As a member of your care team, there are simple things you can do to help prevent medication mistakes. These include the following:

  • Share with your doctor and nurse a list of your current over-the-counter and prescribed medications, vitamins, herbs and supplements.
  • Remind your doctor about any allergies or significant, unwanted reactions you have experienced to any medication or supplement.
  • Make sure the doctor or nurse checks your wristband and asks your name before giving you medication. In fact, for your safety, some areas are now using bar code scanning technology to ensure your safety.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse how a new medicine or intravenous fluids will help and about any significant, unwanted side effects before taking your medicine.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the nurse or the doctor if you think you are about to get the wrong medicine.
  • Tell your nurse or doctor if you don’t feel well after receiving medicine. If you think you are having an allergic reaction or experiencing unwanted side effects from the medication or supplement, ask for help immediately.
  • If you’re not feeling well enough to ask questions about your medicines, ask a relative or friend to ask questions for you and to help make sure you get and take the right medicines.
  • If you are given fluids or medication via an IV, ask the nurse how long it should take for the liquid to run out. Tell the nurse if it seems to be dripping too fast or too slow.
  • Before you leave the hospital, make sure that you understand all the instructions for any new medicines prescribed and any medicines you will need to keep taking once you are at home. Ask to talk with your nurse or pharmacist about any questions you may have about any of your medicines.

Complaints/Grievances

Should you have any complaints or grievances during your stay, we encourage you to discuss them with your caregiver or the specific manager for the department involved. The staff from our Patient Relations Department also is available to assist you and help facilitate the resolution of the issues you may have. Contact them at 513 862 2852. (TDD 513 862 1902).

In the case of complaints or grievances regarding Joint Commission, please visit their website or call 800 994 6610.

Legal Topics

Advance Directives

An advance directive lets your doctor and others know your wishes concerning your medical treatment when you cannot speak for yourself. Some people may not want to spend months or years on life support. Others may want every step taken to lengthen life.

TriHealth recognizes your right as a patient to make decisions about your care, including the right to accept or refuse treatment. We have policies in place to comply with your advance directive documents. Our staff will provide the same quality of care whether or not you have an advance directive. In all circumstances, our commitment is to your dignity and comfort.

Any person 18 years or older who is of sound mind and can make his/her own decisions can complete an advance directive. You do not need to complete an advance directive before you receive medical care.

There are several types of advance directives:

Living Will

The Ohio Living Will includes an optional section in which you may state your preferences about organ and tissue donation. A Living Will informs your doctor in writing of your wishes regarding life support when you are too ill to speak. It also allows you to state whether you would want food and water artificially supplied or withheld.

Your Living Will takes effect only when:

  1. You are in a coma from which you are not expected to recover,
  2. You are beyond reasonable medical help with no hope of getting better and cannot make your wishes known or,
  3. You are expected to die and cannot make your wishes known.

Two doctors must agree on your medical condition before the Living Will is acted upon. A Living Will is not the same as a Do Not Resuscitate Order that is written by a physician.

Health Care Power of Attorney

This document allows you to choose someone to make medical decisions on your behalf when you cannot speak for yourself. This could be for any period of time. It is important that you discuss your beliefs and values with the person you choose so he or she can follow your wishes. In regards to stopping life support, the Health Care Power of Attorney allows the person you name to stop life support only if you are in a coma from which you are not expected to recover or if you are expected to die within a short period of time.

If you do not have a Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney, your physician/physicians may allow your next of kin to make certain decisions regarding your medical care if you are unable to speak for yourself. However, according to the law, any decision to discontinue life support may not be implemented right away without a Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney. You may need to stay on life support for an extended length of time before it could be discontinued.

If you choose to complete a Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney, you and/or your family should retain the original. Give copies to your doctor, to the hospital each time you are admitted and to trusted family members and/or friends. The person you have chosen to carry out your health care wishes should have a copy as well. For a fee, you may file a copy of your Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney at your local county recorder's office. You may call them for more information.

  • Hamilton County: 513 946 4588
  • Butler County: 513 887 3192
  • Warren County: 513 925 1382

Your nurse can provide you with the forms at your request.

DNR Comfort Care and DNR Comfort Care Arrest were developed by the Ohio Department of Health to allow your physician to write a Do Not Resuscitate Order that will be honored after you leave the hospital. It is meant for those who are terminally ill or have serious medical conditions and have chosen not to have CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if their heart or breathing should stop. With a DNR Comfort Care order, emergency medical personnel will respond and will help make the patient comfortable but will not be required to perform CPR. To learn more about DNR Comfort Care and DNR Comfort Care Arrest, contact your physician. Once you have DNR Comfort Care status, you need to carry your identification card or ID bracelet with you at all times to verify the DNR order.

Only you can change or cancel your Advance Directives and you can do so at any time. Should you have any questions about completing the Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney, contact Patient Relations at 513 862 2852. For legal advice, talk to your lawyer or contact Ohio Legal Services at 800 589 5888, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

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