ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, March 14, 2022 - March 13 through March 19, 2022 marks Patient Safety Awareness Week, which was created by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to encourage discussion and promote awareness of safety issues within health care.

This year, Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC) Department of Quality is offering tips to help patients stay safe and take an active role in their care.

“We work to support care teams in facilitating transparent discussions as they continue to tailor and support patient-centred care. This is a top to bottom, side to side operation that spans our entire institution,” said Cheryl Weaver, RN, Director of Quality. “We welcome this opportunity to celebrate and promote Patient Safety Awareness Week with our patients, staff and community.”

SLBMC offers the following tips to help patients stay safe and comfortable during their hospital stay:

▪️ Speak up. You must trust your health care provider, but remember communication is a two-way street. If you have a question or concern about your care, ask your doctor.

Here are three (3) specific questions patients and families are encouraged to ask of their providers to better understand their health conditions and what they need to do to stay healthy.

1. What is my main problem?

2. What do I need to do?

3. Why is it important for me to do this?

▪️ Keep your hands clean. Hand hygiene is the most effective way to prevent the spread of infection. Keep your hands clean and ask providers to clean their hands before touching you.

▪️ Educate yourself. Unfortunately, it’s possible to get an infection in the hospital while being treated for something else. Know the signs and symptoms of infection and let your health care provider know if you experience them.

▪️ Participate in treatment decisions. Your health care provider has your best interests in mind, but you must be an active participant in your own care. Discuss all treatment options so you can make an informed decision together.

“Patient safety is everyone’s responsibility, from physicians and nurses to patients and visitors,” said Weaver. “We must all work together to ensure patients receive the best, safest care.”