Be SMART! Be Involved!
Be an active participant in your health care.
Physicians, nurses, technicians, administrators are not the only ones who are actively involved in your safe healthcare. You, as the patient, play a vital role in making sure you receive safe healthcare by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your healthcare team.
Speak up if . . .
- you have questions about your health
- you don’t understand something you have been told about your health or treatment. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional to give you an explanation AND ask again until you are satisfied that you understand.
- you have concerns about your safety. Don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider about your medication (i.e., known side effects, compatibility with other medication you’re taking, etc.)
Make sure . . .
- you received treatment that is appropriate for your diagnosis. Don’t hesitate to ask for an explanation of any treatment you have concerns about
- you know what medication you have been prescribed and what it is for.
- you are treated courteously and respectfully by your healthcare professionals. Your healthcare providers should introduce themselves when they enter your room and should always wear their identification badges.
- your caregiver confirms your identity by checking your wristband for your name and date of birth before administering medication or providing treatment.
Act in your own best interest by . . .
- educating yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing, the medications you take, your treatment plan and equipment that may be needed for your care. Good sources include your doctor, your library, respected websites and support groups.
- writing down important facts your doctor tells you so you can review the information later or look for additional information. If you are unsure about the nature of your illness or the best course of treatment, consult with additional specialists. The more information you have about your options the more confident you will be with the decisions you make.
- asking your treating physician about the specialized training and experience that qualifies him or her to treat your illness.
- noticing whether your caregiver has washed their hands. Hand washing is the most important way to prevent the spread of infections. Don’t be afraid to gently remind a doctor, nurse, or visitor to do this.
- reading all medical forms and making sure you understand them before you sign anything. If you don’t understand, if you have questions or concerns, ask your doctor to explain further.
Report any changes in your condition to your healthcare providers.
- Keep your health care providers fully and honestly informed about your medical history, symptoms, complaints, concerns, pain or other information you believe to be helpful.
- Keep copies of important information from previous hospitalizations and share them with your doctor. This will give a more complete picture of your health history.
- You and your doctor should agree on exactly what will be done during each step of your care.
- Know what treatment you will be receiving, what to expect during the treatment and how long it will last.
- Listen to your healthcare providers. Understand that more tests, medications and treatments are not always better.
Tell your physician and other health care providers what your health care choices are.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment or ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.
- Prepare an Advance Directive for Health Care, or other legally binding health care directive, so that you can exercise your right to make your own decisions even when you are not able to speak for yourself. An advocate can help you keep informed by asking questions you night not think of as a patient. Your advocate can help your remember answers to questions you asked your doctor. Your advocate may be able to help organize the type of care you might need when you get home; and know what to look for if you condition changes and you require help.
- Review consents for treatment with your advocate to make sure you understand exactly what you are consenting for.
- Make sure your advocate understands your preferences for care and wishes concerning resuscitation and life support. If you are not able to make your own decisions, your Advocate will be well prepared to speak for you.
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center is committed to providing quality care with compassion and respect.
Help us help you by being S-M-A-R-T and being involved.