One in 10 patients will be harmed when they stay in the hospital but the majority of these cases are preventable (WHO, 2019). Patients and family members may often feel lost, out of control, alone, and overwhelmed when receiving care in the healthcare system. However, patients and family members play a key part as the central person in their care and should be informed and empowered in their role. Navigating the healthcare system can be overwhelming but the tools below can help you and your loved ones stay safe when receiving care. 

Prepare for your healthcare or hospital visit.

It is important to prepare for your visit so that you know what to expect. That starts with an understanding of the importance of being safe in the healthcare system and where you fit in!

Make sure you are going to the right place for your condition and that you have selected an appropriate provider who will help you stay safe as a partner in your care. 

Write down the questions you want to ask your provider, bring the relevant information for your provider, and be ready to take notes! 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or out of control in the healthcare system. While easier said than done, take steps to be as empowered as possible in your care and don’t be afraid to rely on others for help. Speak up to prevent medical errors!

When in the healthcare visit or hospital, make sure you are involved in coordinating your care with the clinical care team.

You are the only person who will be with you throughout your entire healthcare journey, from entry, to visit, to exit, to home and community. There will be many interactions will care team members from different facilities along the way and these care team members don’t always talk to one another about your care. Therefore, it’s essential that you are prepared to coordinate your own care throughout your journey but we’ve made it easy!

You will likely receive a number of treatments during your visit. It is important that you not only track and document each of these treatments, but have a conversation with the care team members about the purpose of this treatment, risks, benefits, and alternatives. 

Ensure you are well-prepared to take care of yourself post-hospitalization or healthcare visit. 

Discharge/exit is one of the most important times during your care, as this is when the care team is preparing for you to leave the facility and continue your care elsewhere. Often, this is when information falls through the cracks and mistakes are made.