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Speak Up About Your Care

Speak Up...

If you don't understand something or if something doesn't seem right.
If you speak or read another language and would like an interpreter or translated materials.
If you need medical forms explained.
If you think you're being confused with another patient.
If you don't recognize a medicine or think you're about to get the wrong medicine.
If you are not getting your medicine or treatment when you should.
About your allergies and reactions you've had to medicines.

Pay Attention...

Check identification (ID) badges worn by doctors, nurses and other staff.
Check the ID badge of anyone who asks to take your newborn baby.
Don't be afraid to remind doctors and nurses to wash their hands.

Educate Yourself...

So you can make well-informed decisions about your care.
Ask doctors and nurses about their training and experience treating your condition.
Ask for written information about your condition.
Find out how long treatment should last, and how you should feel during treatment.
Ask for instruction on how to use your medical equipment.

Advocates (family members and friends) can help...

Give advice and support - but they should respect your decisions about the care you want.
Ask questions, and write down important information and instructions for you.
Make sure you get the correct medicines and treatments.
Go over the consent form, so you all understand it.
Get instructions for follow-up care, and find out who to call if your condition gets worse

Know about your new medicine...

Find out how it will help.
Ask for information about it, including brand and generic names.
Ask about side effects.
Find out if it is safe to take with your other medicines and vitamins.
Ask for a printed prescription if you can't read the handwriting.
Read the label on the bag of intravenous (IV) fluid so you know what's in it and that it is for you.
Ask how long it will take the IV to run out.

Use a quality health care organization that...

Has experience taking care of people with your condition.
Your doctor believes has the best care for your condition.
Is accredited, meaning it meets certain quality standards.
Has a culture that values safety and quality, and works every day to improve care.

Participate in all decisions about your care...

Discuss each step of your care with your doctor.
Don't be afraid to get a second or third opinion.
Share your up-to-date list of medicines and vitamins with doctors and nurses.
Share copies of your medical records with your health care team.

The goal of Speak Up™ is to help patients and their advocates become active in their care.
Speak Up™ materials are intended for the public and have been put into a simplified (i.e., easy-to-read) format to reach a wider audience. They are not meant to be comprehensive statements of standards interpretation or other accreditation requirements, nor are they intended to represent evidence-based clinical practices or clinical practice guidelines. Thus, care should be exercised in using the content of Speak Up™ materials. Speak Up™ materials are available to all health care organizations; their use does not indicate that an organization is accredited by The Joint Commission.

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