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Patient safety

Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital's goal is to provide excellent, safe patient care. We believe it is important for families to be involved in care and safety. Below are some tips to help you participate in your child's care and safety in the hospital.

Communication

  • One of the most important things you can do is to speak up and ask questions, especially if you are unclear, unsure or confused. Feel free to ask who people are, what they are doing and where your child is going.
  • Pay attention to your child's tests, treatments and medications. Speak up if something does not seem right to you.
  • If you have questions or concerns about your child's care or safety, talk to the nurse, the patient service manager or doctor. If you still have concerns, call the hospital's patient relations department at 203-688-3430.
  • When you go home, make sure you are clear about your child's written discharge instructions, including medicines and need for a follow-up visit. Don't worry if you need to ask someone to repeat the instructions. Be sure you receive a phone number to call if you have questions after you go home.
  • Translation services are available any time of day or night, at no cost to you.

Preventing infections in the hospital:

What you as a patient can do

Your nurses, doctors and other healthcare providers - as well as family members and visitors - should always wash their hands before they touch your child. Feel free to remind them each time. You and your child should wash your hands with soap and water if soiled. If hands are not visibly soiled, waterless hand disinfectants can be substituted. If a gown or linens become soiled, let your child's caregivers know.

Many diseases are spread by coughing or sneezing (some germs can travel up to six feet!) so you and your child should cover both your mouth and nose when doing so. Use a tissue if available and if not available, cover your mouth and nose with the bend of your elbow or hands - and then disinfect your hands. Ask family members and friends who have a cold, flu or symptoms of an infection (such as fever, rash, cough, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) not to visit. Limit visits from children under 12.

"Isolation precautions" are to protect you, your child, other patients, staff and visitors. Gloves, gowns and masks are sometimes worn, depending on the illness. If you don't understand why you are on precautions, please ask. Remind visitors that they too must follow the precautions listed on the sign outside your child's room to protect you and them during their visit. Please get flu and pneumonia vaccines when they are offered.

At certain times, we may need to restrict visits from all children under the age of 12 because of increased numbers of respiratory infections, such as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), in the community. This restriction helps to prevent the introduction of respiratory infections into the hospital since some of these infections can be contagious even before symptoms appear and are particularly common in children.

Reducing medication errors

  • Ask your nurse about your child's medicines - what they are, what they do, when they are given and their possible side effects. Get to know their color, size and dose.
  • Let your nurse know if your child's medicines are late, look different or if he or she has any reactions to them.
  • Make sure your doctor or nurse knows if your child has any allergies or has had reactions to drugs before. If your child has an allergy, please be sure the staff have put a red allergy bracelet on your child.
  • Do not give your child any medications from home, unless requested by your doctor or hospital staff.

Avoiding treatment errors

  • Find out what is planned for your child each day so you can ask questions about tests or treatments that seem unusual. Ask questions about your child's condition and care.
  • It may be helpful to ask a family member or friend to listen with you when staff explains a diagnosis, treatment, test result or discharge plan.
  • Write down questions you have for physicians about your child's procedure, treatment and medications (space is provided on pp xx)

Staff identification

All hospital employees are required to wear photo identification badges. Be sure all your child's caregivers have a hospital or medical school I.D. with their picture on it. Only caregivers wearing badges with a bright pink background and physicians wearing badges with a red background are permitted to take your child from his or her room for treatment. If you are at all unsure about who should or should not be in your child's room, press the nurse call light.

Patient identification

When your child is admitted, he or she will have a patient identification bracelet placed on his or her wrist. Infants may have their I.D. placed on their ankles. Be sure your child understands the importance of this identification bracelet. This bracelet identifies the child and his or her medical record number. If your child has allergies, be sure he or she wears an allergy alert bracelet. Check that caregivers look at your child's identification band before giving any medication, drawing blood or performing a procedure. Please do not remove this bracelet.

Family-activated Rapid Response Team:

If you believe that there is something dramatically wrong with your child, you can activate the hospital's Rapid Response Team by calling 911 and a critical care team will respond immediately to your child's bedside.

Other safety tips

  • Make sure you know how to use the nurse call-button on your child's bed. There are emergency cords in all showers and bathrooms.
  • No one but staff should touch medical equipment. Ask staff to explain what the equipment does and what the alarms mean. Call your child's nurse if an alarm sounds.
  • Do not bring in food from home or restaurants unless approved by your nurse or physician.
  • Because of allergies, latex balloons are not permitted in the hospital. Mylar balloons are fine.

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