Patient Safety

When you or your family member is a patient at Albany Area Hospital & Medical Center, you want to be sure you receive the best and safest care possible. Our hospital and health care professionals are committed to providing the best care for you and your family. We ask you and your families join us to make sure that our care meets your needs and encourage you to let us know when it does not.

We are dedicated to sharing information on quality and safety with you and your family through efforts such as voluntarily participating in the Leapfrog Group Survey.  Leapfrog is a coalition of more than 100 public and private organizations that share our commitment to provide the safest health care possible.  We commend the Leapfrog Group for recognizing quality of care is not just based on cost.  However, we realize their standards are not applicable to all hospitals.

To make your health care visit safe we have many steps in place that go beyond Leapfrog’s three standards. The following are a few of the countless steps our hospital is taking to assure you receive reliable care:

  • Your safety is central to every aspect within our hospital. It is the top priority at all levels of our organization including management, physicians, and staff.
  • We have a patient safety committee in place to evaluate any safety concern brought up by staff, patients, or family members. The committee reviews each safety aspect and develops steps to make our hospital a safe place to receive care.
  • All physicians and nurses at our hospital are board-licensed and participate in continuing education.
  • For medication safety, we double-check to make sure you receive the right medication, right dose, with the right method at the right time. We encourage you to speak up if you have any questions about your medication.
  • We recommend you to have a family member or friend with you during your health care visits. They can provide comfort, support, and can also help ask questions.
  • We encourage you to ask questions and takes notes.

 

Communication 

One of Albany Area Hospital & Medical Center’s goals is to encourage and support open and honest communication with you, your family, and your health care team.

 

  • We participate in the Minnesota Hospital Association’s Patient Safety Registry. This provides us with the latest safety information from around the state.
  • We encourage you, your family, and staff to speak up if there is a safety concern.
  • It is our policy to be open and honest with you and your family by informing you of the potential results of your care, including unexpected results.
  • We encourage you to designate a family spokesperson to help communication with your family and the health care team.
  • We encourage you to complete a satisfaction survey. We survey our patients to learn about their hospital stay experience. We review these surveys and make changes as a result of your comments.
  • We welcome the opportunity to discuss the care you receive. If you have comments, questions, or concerns, please contact us.

 

Consumer Tips 

Ø   Medication Safety

Ask the doctor and pharmacist about the medicine. What is the name, benefits, and possible side effects or reactions with other medications or food/beverages?

  • WHAT IS IT? Make sure you know the name and color of the medicine. Take medicine in well-lit areas.
  • WHAT IS IT FOR? Make sure you know why the medicine is being taken.
  • HOW DO I TAKE IT? Ask the doctor or pharmacist to explain how to take the medicine and how often it should be taken.
  • WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR? Ask what the results should be and possible reactions.

 

Ø Double-check your prescription.

Before you leave the pharmacy, check your medicine to make sure it was prepared for you. Speak up before you leave because pharmacies typically do not take back medicine once it has been purchased.

Ø Discuss previous allergies or reactions.

Make sure the doctors, nurses and pharmacists, know about any allergies or reactions to drugs you or your family member might have.

Ø Make a List.

Bring a list of the medicines to every appointment. Include over-the-counter, herbal, or dietary drugs.

AT THE HOSPITAL OR CLINIC

Ø Have someone with you.

Bring a family member or friend who knows your medical history and who can also ask questions. This can help to ensure the best care possible. Family members often provide the comfort and support needed to promote your return to good health.

Ø Bring medicines. 

Bring all the medicines you are taking or a list of medications to every appointment.

Ø Be active and speak up.

  • Share medical information. Write down and carry important medical information with you. Keep a list of medical history, office visits, and medication use.  Medical information should include allergies and the names, addresses and phone numbers of important health care providers.
  • Make sure you understand the plan of treatment. Ask the nurse or doctor to explain any test results and the plan of treatment. If anything is not clear, speak up and ask questions.
  • Make sure you know what medicines should be taken and what has been ordered for your care. Ask questions if the medicines look different from before.
  • Wash hands. Patients, family members and caregivers should wash hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Know who is in charge of care. Make sure that someone, such as your personal doctor, is in charge of the care for you or your family member. This is especially important in a hospital or in case of a complex illness. Ask if your primary physician will be at the hospital.

 

Ø Take notes.

Write down any questions about the patient’s condition, treatment, clinic visit or hospital stay. Take notes about what you learn from your caregiver. At the end of your visit to the clinic or hospital, ask for information in writing, including information about medicines, follow-up care, and your treatment plan.

Ø Learn as much as you can.

  • It is up to you to learn as much as you can about the care and treatment. The most important way you can help to prevent medical errors is to be an active and informed member of the health care team. This means taking part in every health care decision.

 

Ø Prepare for surgery.

  • Ask questions.  Prior to surgery, talk to the physician and nurse about any concerns.
  • Talk about the procedure. Make sure that you, the doctor and surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what is going to be done.
  • Mark the areaMake sure the body area to be operated on is clearly marked.