At Heritage Valley Health System, your safety is our primary concern. We are committed to delivering quality healthcare to you and your family in the safest manner possible. We also want you to be an active member of your health care team. That means taking part in every decision about your healthcare. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results. If you have any comments or concerns about patient safety at Heritage Valley Health System, please let us know.
How to reach us:
Call the Patient Safety Hotline at any time to report your safety concerns:
- 724-773-2015 at Heritage Valley Beaver or
- 412-749-7492 at Heritage Valley Sewickley.
Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you do not understand, ask again. It is your body and you have a right to know. Your health is too important to worry about being embarrassed if you do not understand something that your doctor, nurse or other health care professional tells you.
Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate. He or she can ask questions that you may not think of while you are under stress. Make sure this person understands your preferences for care and your wishes concerning resuscitation and life support.
If you have a test, do not assume that no news is good news. Ask about the results. Make sure that the results are explained in terms you and your family can understand. If you do not understand, or need more clarification, ask.
Remind us if we do not introduce ourselves and have our name badge visible.
Don’t be afraid to tell the nurse or the doctor to stop if any procedure or medication does not seem right to you.
Falls can happen to anyone at anytime and can result in a serious injury. We would like to help keep you safe by sharing ways to help prevent falls while in the hospital. Falls may occur in the hospital because:
Medicines- may make you dizzy or unsteady on your feet, such as pain relievers, blood pressure pills, water pills, sedatives and laxatives.
Your illness- if you need to go without food for a long period of time for a test or procedures/ or you have surgery you may feel weak or unsteady on your feet.
Environment- the hospital setting is unfamiliar to all patients. It is not uncommon for even young people to be a bit confused at night when they awake.
What you and your family can do to prevent falls in the hospital:
- If your doctor has ordered the following activity level for you:
- Bed rest - call for help. Do not get out of bed. Use your call bell to contact the nurse.
- Bed rest with bathroom privileges – you may walk the short distance to the bathroom only.
- Call for help for longer distances or if you feel unsteady on your feet.
- Activity as tolerated – you may walk freely based upon your ability.
- If you are allowed out of bed, get up slowly. Make sure you are steady on your feet before trying to walk.
- Be sure you have enough light to see clearly.
- Keep your bed in the lowest position at all times. We will show you how to work the bed controls.
- Wear non-slip shoes or slippers whenever you walk in the hospital.
- Tell your nurse if there is any equipment in your way before you walk.
- We can provide safety devices like walkers to help you move safely. Do not lean on or support yourself on rolling objects such as the IV pole or your bedside table. Tell us if you have special toileting or mobility needs.
- Make sure you can easily reach your call button, telephone and any other personal items. If these items are out of your reach, ask someone to move them so you can reach them. Do not reach for movable objects such as nightstands, furniture or over-the-bed tables.
- Call your nurse if you need to move the bed rails to get up or if you have an IV pole or other equipment.
- You may be given a green ‘Fall Risk’ armband to wear while in the hospital. This is to alert all staff that you may be unsteady on your feet and to take special precautions to keep you from falling
- Remember if you do not feel steady on your feet - CALL YOUR NURSE, DON’T FALL! Please call for assistance before getting out of bed. We are all here to help you. We do not want you to be injured because you think we are too busy to assist you. Many people are injured in hospitals every year because they do not ask for assistance to get out of their bed or chair or walk to the bathroom.
Call the nurse if you have to leave your loved one, even for a short time or if your loved one:
- Needs to use the bathroom
- Pulls at tubes or IV’s
- Shows a change in state of mind
- Shows signs of pain or discomfort
- Tries to get up and you aren’t sure if it is safe
We believe in using a variety of options when we have concerns about your safety or the safety of your loved one. There are times when having family close is the only way to calm your loved one. You may be asked to help in this manner at times. You can also help us know what options are best for your loved one.
When there is an option, we always make “assistive” rather than “restrictive” choices. Sometimes, restrictive devices like restraints must be used to keep your loved one from:
- Pulling on tubes such as IV’s or oxygen,
- Removing monitors or dressings or
- Hurting themselves or others.
Restraints are removed as soon as the safety concern passes. Our nurses follow strict rules when using restraints. We are concerned about comfort as well as safety. We check, loosen and remove restraints for feeding, toileting and moving the patient.
- Velcro reminder across wheelchair/chair handles
- Colored yarn across wheelchair/chair tied in a bow
- Stretch belt across wheelchair/chair that can be unbuckled
- Wedge pillows
- Distraction therapy
- Tape recordings of family members
- Lowered beds
- Appropriate shoes
- Night light
- Attach call bell to bed clothes
- Have telephone, water and toiletries within easy reach
- Music therapy
- Limit external stimuli (lights or noise at night)
- Stuffed animals
- Family member or friend stay with the patient
Medication errors are the most common health care mistakes. Know what medications you take and why you take them. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs.
Be sure to keep an updated list of medicines with their instruction for dosing.
Bring this list with you when you come into the hospital. If this is not possible, bring all of your medicines and supplements with you. “Brown bagging” your medicines can help you and your doctor talk about them and find out if there are any problems. Be prepared to have a family member take your medicines home after you are admitted. Medications will be provided during your stay and there is no need to use your personal supply.
Whenever you receive a new medication, tell you doctors and nurses about allergies you have, or negative reactions you had had to medication in the past. Ask about the purpose of the medication and ask for written information about it, including its brand and generic names. Also inquire about the side effects of the medication. If you do not recognize a medication, verify that it is for you. Ask about oral medications before swallowing and read the contents of bags of intravenous (IV) fluids. Never connect or disconnect any devices or infusions. Instead get help from the nurse.
Make sure your nurse or doctor confirms your identify, that is, checks your armband or asks your name and date of birth, before he or she administers any medication or starts a procedure.
is an important way to prevent the spread of infections in hospitals. Notice whether your caregivers have washed their hands. Do not be afraid to gently remind a doctor or nurse to do this.
At Heritage Valley Health System, we have installed dispensers containing a “sinkless” hand wash located just inside your room’s doorway. Our caregivers can use the “sinkless” alcohol gel to wash their hands as well as the conventional method of soap and water.
Wash your own hands before meals and after using the bathroom. Ask your visitors to wash their hands also.
If you are having surgery, make sure that you are clear on exactly what will be done. Performing surgery at the wrong site (for example, operating on the left knee instead of the right) is rare. But even once is too often. The good news is that wrong-site surgery is preventable. To avoid wrong-site surgery the following safeguards are in place:
- An armband will be placed on your wrist or ankle,
- You will be asked your name, birth date, surgeon and procedure to be completed by several hospital staff members, and
- The surgeon will mark your surgical site as indicated to ensure a correct procedure.
Thoroughly read all medical forms, including surgical or procedure consent forms, and make sure you understand them before you sign anything. If you do not understand, ask your doctor or nurse to explain them.
Are your immunizations up to date? If you are 65 or older or have a chronic condition, your doctor may want to vaccinate you against certain diseases. Initiate a discussion with your doctor concerning both the flu vaccine and also the vaccines that can safeguard against pneumonia. Find out if these vaccines are “right” for you.
When you are being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor or nurse to explain the treatment plan you will use at home. This includes learning about your medicines and finding out when you can get back to your regular activities. Research shows that at discharge time, doctors think their patients understand more than they really do about what they should or should not do when they return home.
Have a family member or friend with you to review your discharge instructions. Be sure that you understand all discharge medications order, including any home medications you are not to take. Make sure all your questions are answered.
By following these simple steps, we can work together as partners to keep you and your loved one safe.