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Oishei Children's Hospital
Family Advisory Council
818 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

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Family Advisory Council
Tips for Families

The Patient Identification Band

Every patient is given an Identification Band when admitted to the hospital. The ID Band contains the patient’s name, date of birth, gender and medical record number. This information should be confirmed at the time of admission. The ID Band is used as an important safety measure in many aspects of patient care, and the hospital staff is trained to check the ID Band before certain activities. It is required that each patient have an ID Band on at all times when hospitalized. Keep loved ones safe by remembering these tips:

Do not remove the ID Band 

  • If the band falls off, loosens or becomes uncomfortable, notify the nurse immediately.       

Make sure hospital staff checks ID Band before:

  • Giving medication (before every dose, every time)
  • Drawing blood
  • Performing any test or procedure (e.g.  X-ray, ultrasound)
  • Transporting by hospital staff
  • Remember, even if the staff member is familiar to the patient, they should compare the ID Band to the medication or physician's order every time.

If the patient has allergies:

  • Correct allergy information is important for patients' safety. Some medications include allergens, such as egg products.
  • When the patient is admitted, be sure the admitting nurse is aware of all allergies. Check to be sure that the ID Band includes important allergy information. There are specific color alert stickers placed on the band for each condition: Red should be placed for an allergy; Green for latex allergy; Black for isolation; Orange for skin alert; and Yellow for fall risk.

Clean Hands Save Lives

Infections can spread when unwashed hands touch a patient or any surface or object in the room. Keeping hands clean is the best way to prevent the spread of infection. 

Remember: Wash your hands, when?

  • Every time you enter a patient's room.
  • Before touching the patient.
  • After contact with the patient.
  • Before eating.
  • After wiping noses.
  • After feeding, including breastfeeding.
  • After using the restroom.
  • After changing diapers/assisting a child with the bathroom.
  • After having contact with objects in the room (phone, television, bed).


  • Choose soap and water – Wet hands and rub together until soap forms a good lather, at least 15 seconds. Rinse well and turn off the faucet with a paper towel.
  • Choose an alcohol-based hand rubIf hands do not appear dirty, or if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. If the dispenser is empty, let a nurse or housekeeper know.

Remind others to wash their hands, too!

Keep patients safe by making sure everyone entering the room cleans their hands. This includes:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Family members
  • Social Workers
  • Visitors
  • Technicians and any other staff
  • Don’t forget the patient – he or she needs to wash his/her hands, too.

* Remember: It is OK to ask doctors and nurses to wash their hands before touching the patient or anything in the room. They expect to be asked if they forget.

When to wash again?

Everyone should clean hands before and after:

  • Touching a patient
  • Eating food
  • Feeding, including bottle or breastfeeding
  • Touching surfaces in the room (e.g., phone, bed, table)
  • Giving medications
  • Changing diapers
  • Using the restroom
  • Wiping noses

And, please, do not allow family or friends to visit if they have a cold or a cough.

**If a patient already has an infection, healthcare providers may take special precautions to prevent the spread of the infection to others. They may enter the patient's room wearing protective gear (mask, gown, gloves). You should not have to ask them to wash their hands as they should have done so before they put on their gloves.

Keep a Notebook by the Bedside

Families and caregivers are an important part of the healthcare team. To be an effective member of their healthcare team, keep a notebook or pad by the bedside to jot down notes about:

Contact information:

  • Ask for and write down contact numbers and names of the patient's physician and other team members.
  • Write down the nurse’s station phone number extension and keep it. Call for updates if you cannot be at the bedside.
  • Give your nurse your contact information so you can be reached at all times.

The patient's care plan for the day:

  • Ask what the care plan is, and write it down. If you are not sure, ask the nurse or doctor.
  • Ask them to repeat the information if needed, so that you have a clear understanding of the care your loved one will receive.

Your observation of your loved one:

  • Note any changes of appetite, energy, mood, pain levels or anything else you see. Share this information with the healthcare team.


  • Write down questions as you think of them
  • Refer to your notebook when the doctors come in
  • Ask for as many explanations of medical terms, lab results, tests, diagnosis, and anything else as much as you need until you are comfortable with the information.

Getting the Most From Your Doctor Visits

There are many things you can do to prepare for your visit to the doctor.

  1. Prepare a list of your symptoms, concerns and questions, and bring it.
  2. Bring a list of medications and dosages.
  3. Bring test results or reports from other doctors, if applicable. 
  4. Bring a family member or friend, if comfortable doing so. It helps to have another set of ears when the doctor explains things.
  5. Bring along a book and/or toys for children; time will pass faster.
  6. Call ahead to see if the doctor/clinic is running late.
  7. Ask the doctor to write down instructions and information before leaving the office. Review it together to make sure all information is understood. Ask for any hand outs that might be helpful.
  8. Understand what your next step should be: 
    • Do you need to schedule another appointment?
    • If the doctor ordered a medication, do you have a prescription for you or your child?
    • How should you report symptoms or concerns to your doctor?
    • Are there special call in hours for your doctor? How can you reach the doctor when the office is closed

Home Safety for Parents and Children

Fire Safety Facts: Did you know…

  • On average in the United States in 2009, someone died in a fire every 175 minutes, and someone was injured every 31 minutes (Karter 2010).
  • About 85 percent of all U.S. fire deaths in 2009 occurred in homes (Karter 2010).
  • Approximately four out of 10 home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms (Ahrens 2009).
  • Most residential fires occur during the winter months (CDC 1998, 2010; Flynn 2010).
  • On February 22, 2010, "Amanda’s Law" took effect. The law requires carbon monoxide detectors in every one to two family property, apartments, multiple dwellings, etc.
  • It is also NYS law that all homes have working smoke detectors installed.

Fire Safety Question and Answer:

How does a smoke alarm work?

  • Smoke alarms are devices that recognize smoke in the air.
  • A loud beeping sound is activated if smoke is detected in the home to warn of a fire.

Where should smoke alarms be placed in the home?

  • Install and maintain smoke alarms in the home on every floor and near all bedrooms

Should smoke alarms be checked to make sure they are still working?

  • Yes. Test smoke alarms once a month to make sure they are working properly. This is easy; just use the ‘test’ button on the smoke alarm to make sure it sounds an alarm.
  • Change smoke alarm batteries once a year.
  • Children can help their parents remember to check smoke alarms and change batteries by marking dates on the calendar

What should be done when the smoke alarm goes off?

  • Everyone should leave the house if a smoke alarm goes off. Have an escape plan.
  • Parents and children should create and then practice a family fire escape plan. Practice the escape plan every six months.
  • Families should make a plan that has two ways to get out of every room and a meeting place outside of the home.

These tip were developed by the parents of the Family Advisory Council at Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo, NY.