North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System
Reporting Safety or Quality Issues
Patient Safety – A Team Effort
It is the goal of the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System to provide you, the deserving Veteran, with the highest quality of health care available anywhere. In delivering this care, we make safety a priority. The Department of Veterans Affairs takes pride in being a world leader in the area of patient safety practices. However, medical errors can still happen in any health care setting. You, the patient, play a vital role in the care you receive. Think of yourself as being the most important member of your health care team. Ask questions – it’s your body and you have a right to know. Don’t assume anything.
- If you are issued a wristband for identification, make sure the information on the band is correct.
- Carry your VIC (Veterans Universal Access and Identification Card) with you at all times.
- Before having a procedure done or getting medication, your caregiver should confirm your name or check your wristband first. If they don’t, say something.
- Your providers should wash their hands before delivering care (if they don’t - remind them).
- If headed to surgery, was the part of your body to be operated on clearly marked?
- When you have prescriptions filled, always make sure you were issued the right medicine.
- Make sure you are actually receiving treatments that you are supposed to be getting.
- Be directly involved with your care. You need to be part of the decision-making process.
- Do you agree with your plan of care? If not, discuss this with your health care team.
- If you have any concerns about your care, speak up!
- If an employee is not able to assist you with a concern, ask to talk to their immediate supervisor.
- Make sure you report any changes in your health.
- Do you have any questions about your care? If so, get answers.
- Do you have a family member or friend you trust available to assist you during your stay? If so, perhaps that person can:
- help with questions that need to be asked
- help you remember what has been explained to you
- assist you with filling out forms
- help keep an eye on things during your care
- help you after you leave the hospital (they will be more familiar with your needs, too)
- Learn as much as you can about your condition and treatment. Ask questions and take notes. Ask for patient education materials. Use libraries (Lake City and Gainesville VA Medical Centers have Patient Libraries/Patient Education Centers). Check web sites on the subject. Consider joining a support group if one is available for your situation.
- Understand medical forms before you sign them.
- When scheduled for a test, know exactly what the test is for and how to prepare for it. Ask when you can expect the results of the test. Make sure you understand the results when you get them.
- Do you know what medications you take? What they are for? How and when you should take them? Do you know about their possible side effects? How to have prescriptions refilled?
- Make sure you understand your home care plan before you leave the hospital.
The Joint Commission
If you have a safety or quality of care concern which has been unresolved through hospital management, employees and patients have the right to contact The Joint Commission by dialing 1-800-994-6610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Disciplinary action may not be taken against any employee or patient who reports a safety or quality concern to The Joint Commission.