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Stay Safe & Informed

To maximize your recovery and get back to normal daily life as soon as possible, you need to collaborate with your medical team on your care. Here are some guidelines on how best to work with your medical team.

Nurse explains patient safety

General Information:

  • Tell your caretakers everything they need to know about your religious and cultural preferences. If you encounter a hospital employee who is not wearing an ID badge or who does not introduce himself or herself to you, ask them who they are and what they do at the hospital.
  • If your caretaker does not wash his or her hands, please ask him or her to do so.
  • All medical service providers should check your wrist band for specific medical instructions before administering a test or treatment.
  • Ask when you can expect your test results, and if you aren’t informed about them at that time, ask again — you need to know what your caretakers have found out about your condition.

The Patient's Role in the Intensive Care Unit

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An Atlantic Health System clinical nurse specialist explains the role of patients in understanding the daily plan of care in the ICU.

Medications and Nutrition

  • Give your doctor or nurse a list of all prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements and herbs that you regularly take.
  • Provide medical staff with a list of all substances to which you are allergic, including medications, foods and materials.
  • Tell the nurse and dietitian about any food preferences and allergies, especially if you are on a restricted diet or if you avoid certain foods for religious reasons.
  • When the nurse brings your medication(s) to you, ask what medications you are receiving, especially if the color, shape or size of the pills is different from what you usually take. Though you may simply be getting a generic replacement for a brand name drug, it’s important to be sure you’re not accidentally getting a drug or a dose you don’t need.

Surgical Procedures

  • Make sure your doctor and your anesthesiologist know your allergies and any personal or family history of reactions to anesthesia.
  • Prior to your procedure, get a clear explanation of what will be done during surgery, what preparation is needed, and what to expect after. Ask your doctor or nurse whether you should fast before surgery and if you need someone to drive you home.

Discharge Planning

  • Before you leave the hospital, ask for written instructions on how to take care of yourself at home and make sure you understand them. You need to know:
    • What kind of follow-up appointments you need and when to make them
    • How to use any medical equipment you will have at home and whom to call when you have questions (make sure you have your doctor’s contact information)
    • Which medications you will need at home along with written instructions on how to take them
    • What foods and activities are restricted or prohibited
  • When picking up medication from your pharmacy, read the label. Be sure it is what your doctor prescribed.

Planning for discharge is very important. It involves you and your family and loved ones. Your physician will determine when you will leave the hospital. During your stay, a care manager will be able to answer any questions about your discharge. Your care manager can also arrange for nursing care at home or care at another facility.

Generally, patients are discharged from the hospital before 11:00am. Once your discharge date has been determined, you must arrange for transportation home or to another facility. Be sure to remind your family to bring receipts for any valuables you may have in our safe.