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While You’re at the Hospital

We are dedicated to providing medical excellence every day.TM Please be our partner in your treatment. Here are nine ways you can help ensure that you get the best care possible.

Ask Questions if You Have Doubts or Concerns

  • Ask questions if something is not clear.
  • Write down questions for your healthcare team so you don’t forget them. Take notes when you meet with your doctor.
  • If you think something is wrong, speak up. You have the right to ask about your care and safety. Ask your nurse, unit charge nurse or manager to address your concerns.

Involve Your Loved Ones

  • If possible, have a friend or family member with you to help ask questions and understand the answers. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of information presented.

Be Involved in Your Plan of Care

  • While you are in the hospital, each day can be different. Ask your healthcare team, “What is my plan of care for today?” They should explain to you what activities, tests and procedures are planned so that you can prepare. 
  • Know what the treatment will include, and how long the treatment should last.
  • If you don’t understand the reason for a test or procedure, please ask us. We want you to understand.

Safe Patient Identification

  • Your identification (ID) band is very important in helping us make sure that you are getting the right treatment. Staff will check your ID band and ask you to verify your name and date of birth with every medication, treatment, or procedure. If they don't, feel free to ask anyone who is giving you medications, taking specimens from you, or providing any treatment to check your ID band.

Take Medications Safely

  • Give your healthcare team a list of all the medications you take, including non-prescription medications, vitamins and herbal remedies. Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any drug allergies.
  • We want to make sure we are giving the right medication to the right patient with every medication. The nurse will tell you the name of the medication, explain what it is for and tell you if there are side effects you should look for. Ask any questions you have.
  • Ask the nurse about your medication if it looks different than you expected.

You can keep track of your medications by using our Medication Tracker form.

Help Prevent the Spread of Infection

  • Remind friends, family, and caregivers to wash/sanitize their hands before and after coming into direct contact with you. Cleaning hands is an important way to prevent the spread of infection. Hand sanitizing gel is available throughout the hospital.
  • Discourage family or friends with an active cough from visiting you at the hospital or accompanying you on your doctor visits.
  • If you have a cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve – not your hands. Throw away used tissues and sanitize or wash your hands right away.
  • During your stay, your nurse will ask you about pneumonia vaccinations. During flu season, he/she will ask about influenza vaccinations, too. You will be offered a vaccination and a vaccine information statement to review. Please ask your nurse any questions you have about vaccinations.

Understand What Will Happen if You Have Surgery

  • Ask your surgeon: Exactly what will you be doing? How long will it take? What will happen after the surgery? How can I expect to feel during recovery?
  • Make sure your surgeon has explained any potential complications.
  • Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurses about any allergies or bad reactions to anesthesia.
  • To make sure the right procedure is performed on the right patient and the right place, your healthcare team will ask you to confirm your name, your birth date and the type of procedure you are having. Your surgeon will mark the surgery site before surgery.
  • You will be given a dose of antibiotics and may be wrapped in a warming blanket because this has been shown to reduce the number of infections after surgery.

Know What to Do After You Are Discharged From the Hospital

  • Make sure you feel comfortable with discharge instructions given by your healthcare team.
  • Review medications you are prescribed with your doctor or nurse, including new medications’ names, purpose, dosage amounts and how often you will take them. Ask for written information on any new medications.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse to provide the phone number to call if you have questions following your discharge.

Use Other Resources As You Need To

  • Rapid Response Team (RRT): If you or your family is concerned about the patient’s condition, we want to hear your concerns. Overlake has a Rapid Response Team (RRT) of clinical experts who can provide advanced assessment skills and support for the bedside nurse, patient and patient's family. If you think your patient’s condition is getting worse, please tell the nurse.  
  • Fall Prevention:  When you are in the hospital and receiving medicine, you may be less steady on your feet than normal. Be sure to follow your care provider’s instructions to prevent falls. This may include asking for help before getting out of bed or even wearing a leg alarm. For a complete guide to fall prevention – both in the hospital and at home – ask for the booklet, “Don’t Let Falls Get You Down!”  It is also available online at www.overlakehospital.org/resources.
  • Smoking Cessation: If you smoke, quitting is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your health now and in the future. To learn more about smoking cessation, please ask your care providers for information or call the Washington State Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Let Us Know Your Concerns

  • If you have any concerns about your care during your hospital stay, please talk with your care providers and/or the manager of the department providing your care. Please call Overlake’s Patient Advocate for help with any unresolved concerns at 425-688-5191.
  • If you are not able to receive adequate resolution of your concerns, you are welcome to contact The Joint Commission at 1-800-994-6610 or complaint@jointcommission.org and the Department of Health at 1-800-633-6828.

Includes information adapted from the Washington State Hospital Association.