Buffalo General Medical Center
A Building, 16th Floor
100 High Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
Orthopedic Joint Ventures Program
Be a Partner in Your Safety
Empower Yourself During Your Hospital Stay
It’s a fact. Patients who are involved in their own care and who ask questions while in the hospital generally tend to do better than those who are not involved. Health care is a team effort, and you are the most important player. By being a partner in patient safety (PIPS), you can make your hospital stay a positive experience for you and your family.
We welcome your questions because you have the right to know about every aspect of your care. Below are important topics related to your safety and hospital stay, as well as suggested questions for each that you can ask to ensure you receive very good care:
Stop The Spread Of Germs
Excuse me, but did you wash your hands before you came into my room?
- Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Do not hesitate to remind our staff to wash their hands and wear gloves before examining you or giving you your medicines.
- Ask friends and relatives who have colds, respiratory symptoms, or other contagious diseases not to visit you in the hospital.
- Ask your nurse for the flu and pneumonia vaccines to help you fight any germs you might have been exposed to.
Could you double check my I.D. band to be sure this is for me?
- Check the information on your hospital I.D. band to make sure your name and birthdate are correct on your I.D. band.
- Ask staff members to check your I.D. band before any procedures, tests or medications are given to you.
- Wear you hospital I.D. band at all times. If your band comes off, ask someone to get you a new one.
Know Your Medicines
Why do I need this medicine?
- Ask your nurse about the medicines you are taking, what they are, what they look like, what they do, when they should be taken, what side effects they might have, and how long you’ll be taking them.
- Ask if the medicines are safe to take with other medicines or dietary supplements that you may be taking and if there are any food, drink or activities you should avoid while taking the medicines.
- If you do not recognize a medicine, ask the nurse to make sure it is correct.
- Let your doctor or nurse know if you have any allergies or have had previous reactions to any drugs, foods, or latex.
- Please tell your healthcare team about all medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal remedies, and over-the-counter medicines.
Protect Yourself From Falls
How do I call for help?
Most falls occur when patients try to get out of bed on their own.
- Ask for help when getting out of bed, especially at night and the first time after a procedure or surgery. If possible, call for help before the need to go to the bathroom becomes urgent.
- Ask the nurse how the call-button on your bed works, and let your nurse know if you will have trouble reaching it.
- Make sure the brakes on a wheelchair are locked when you get into and out of it.
Prepare For Home
Is there anything I should know about my medicines or care before I leave?
- Ask what medicines, if any, you’ll be taking and when you should have a follow-up visit with your doctor.
- Ask if the nurse has given you all of your written and verbal discharge instructions so you can share them with your primary care doctor.
- Ask for a number to call if you have questions.
Avoid Pressure Ulcers
Can you check my skin, please?
A pressure ulcer, often called a bed sore, usually occurs when your skin or muscles are being pressed between the bones in your body and an outside surface (such as a bed or chair) for too long. You are at-risk for a pressure ulcer if you are bedridden or unable to change your position. While you are in the hospital, your nurse will help you prevent pressure ulcers by:
- Inspecting your skin daily for signs that sores may be forming, especially in areas where they usually develop (tailbone, hips, heels, ankles, elbows, back of the head, etc.).
- Keeping your skin clean and dry.
- Moisturizing your overly dry skin.
- Changing your position in bed or chair every 1 to 2 hours if you are not able to move yourself without help.
- Protecting your bony areas with pillows.
- Keeping your heels off the bed surface with pillows placed under your lower legs.
- Helping you get from bed to the chair or toilet and using protective cream to protect your skin from urine or stool.
- Helping you get a well-balanced diet and plenty of fluids (water, juice, etc.).
- Informing your doctor if signs of skin breakdown are noticed.
When you are admitted to the hospital, please tell your nurse immediately if you have any cuts, scratches, rashes or injuries to your skin – no matter how small.
Control Your Pain
Can I have something for pain?
Pain causes stress and often delays the recovery process, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re hurting.
- Ask the nurse for pain medicine at the first hint of pain. This will avoid medicine delays that make pain harder to manage.
- Do not assume that pain medicine is included with your other pills.
- Tell the nurse or staff member if the medication does not help.
- Addiction to pain medication while hospitalized is a rare occurrence. If you have concerns, please discuss them with your doctor.
Rate Your Pain
Rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being pain as bad as you can imagine (see scale below). This rating will help determine which pain medicine is needed, or if the pain medicine given was effective. You should discuss your goal for pain relief with your physician/caregiver.
Methods of Pain Control
The methods listed below may be used alone or with others. When given pain medicine, ask when to expect pain relief and how long the medicine is expected to last.
- Pills or liquids taken by mouth.
- Placed on the skin.
- Intravenous (IV):
- Fluid passed directly into the vein by way of a tube.
- Injection into fatty tissue below the skin.
- Injection into the muscle.
- Placed on the skin.
- Patient Controlled Analgesia:
- Medicine is given through a tube. This allows the patient to control the amount of pain medicine. Only the patient should press the button that delivers pain medicine.
- Epidural Analgesia:
- A small tube placed into the back. It may be used for stomach, chest, hip, or knee surgeries.
Be Safe – Communicate
It is our goal to provide very good care and service to you and your family. If we are not meeting your needs, please tell us immediately. Ask to speak with the nurse manager, or a department manager, so we can address an issue right away. It is our goal to take care of any issues before you go home. You will also have an opportunity to complete a survey after you go home to tell us what we did well or where we need to improve.
If you would like to speak with someone after you go home, simply call the hospital operator and ask for administration.
- Language assistance services are available free of charge for anyone who has a need for an interpreter.
- Tenemos servicios de ayuda en Español, para cualquiera que necesita un intérprete.
Videos are available on many health topics for you to watch for FREE on your television’s patient education channels. Ask your nurse for details.