Healthcare safety in hospital
Falls can cause serious and even fatal injuries, so please be careful when moving around and do not hesitate to ask us for assistance. The risk of you falling increases if you:
- are recovering after surgery
- have weakness in your legs or arms that makes it hard for you to move or walk
- feel dizzy when you stand up, walk, bend over or try to reach something
- have pain and are taking medicines
- need to get to the bathroom quickly
- have tubes, drains, poles, and equipment that can get tangled
- are not sleeping well or sleep during the day and are awake at night
- are feeling confused or forgetful.
Some simple things you can do to prevent a fall include:
- CALL DON’T FALL - use your call bell to ask for assistance
- use your walking aid
- wear safe footwear and/or non-slip socks
- sit down to shower and use the rails
- take your time and turn on your light at night.
Talk to a nurse for more information or download the Clinical Excellence Commission's Falls prevention in hospital (PDF 243.73KB) factsheet.
If you are taking medications, we need to accurately record what they are. If you can, please bring in an up-to-date list of your medications when you come into hospital. You could also bring in your medications in their original packaging.
After we have recorded what you take, it is sometimes best to return your medications home. In most cases, we will provide you with any medication you need while you are in hospital.
Please do not take any additional medication, including pain relief, without speaking to one of your healthcare team first. It’s also important to let your doctor and nurses know if you have any allergies or have ever had a bad reaction from a medication.
Ask to speak with a pharmacist if you have any questions about your medication or download the Clinical Excellence Commission's Medication review in hospital (PDF 432.13KB) factsheet.
Antibiotics in hospital
Antibiotics are usually prescribed for treating a possible or known infection. Patients will receive a ‘course’ of antibiotics. This means taking antibiotics for a set period of time, or until the infection has completely gone. When you are prescribed an antibiotic, your doctor will discuss:
- why an antibiotic is recommended for you
- the name of the antibiotic
- how it will be given to you while you are in hospital and for how long
- any side effects that you many experience.
If you have not received this information, please ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
For more information, download the Clinical Excellence Commission's information for patients on receiving antibiotic in hospital (PDF 409.07KB) or download the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare's Do I really need antibiotics? (PDF 304.59KB) factsheet.
Preventing pressure injuries
Pressure injuries can happen when you stay in one position for too long. They mostly occur around bony places, such as heels, tailbone, elbows, and the back of the head.
Moving your position, and eating and drinking well can help prevent pressure injuries.
Your healthcare team can help if you need assistance changing position, or we can use pillows, cushions or mattress changes to better support your body. Intentional bedside rounding by staff will also lessen the risk of pressure injuries.
Signs of a pressure injury can include: redness, or changes in skin colour, pain or tenderness in a particular area, blistering or broken skin. If you think that you may be developing a pressure injury, please speak to your nurse.
Talk to a nurse for more information or download the Clinical Excellence Commission's resource Pressure injury prevention information for patients and families (PDF 535.86KB).
Preventing blood clots
Blood clots form when blood pools or thickens which slows or changes the flow of blood around your body. If you have recently had surgery or are unable to move as much as usual, you may be at risk of getting a blood clot.
To help prevent a blood clot while you’re in hospital:
- drink water - water helps blood flow. Check with your doctor how much water you should be drinking per day
- stay active - staying as active as you can will help to keep your blood flowing. Ask your doctor if it’s ok to walk around.
- keep your stockings on - if you’ve been given compression stockings to wear, keep them on as directed.
Sometimes a blood clot doesn’t cause obvious symptoms. This is one of the reasons why we monitor you during your stay. Signs of a blood clot can include:
- unexplained tiredness
- shortness of breath
- chest pain.
Talk to a nurse for more information download the Clinical Excellence Commission's resource about preventing blood clots (PDF 210.06KB).
Preventing infections while in hospital
There are a range of actions visitors and carers can take to minimise the risk of giving a patient an infection or catching an infection from healthcare facilities. For example:
- Do not visit someone in a healthcare facility if you feel unwell, have any symptoms of a cold or flu (including a sore throat), have been vomiting or have had diarrhoea recently.
- Wait until you feel better.
- If you need to cough and sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or put your face into the crook of your elbow. Dispose of your tissue in the bin straight away and perform hand hygiene.
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands well with soap and water or by applying an alcohol-based hand rub to the surface of hands. It’s best to perform hand hygiene before and after entering the hospital, before touching a patient or their food and after you leave a patient’s room.
- Be careful not to touch dressings, drips or other equipment around hospital beds.
- Avoid bringing a large number of people at one time to visit someone. Always check visiting arrangements with the healthcare worker.
- Do not use the patient’s toilet or bathroom, use the visitor facilities.
- You may be asked to wear a mask, gloves and a gown when visiting a patient in a healthcare facility. Follow instructions provided by healthcare workers about any extra precautions that may be needed.
- If you notice any areas that you think need to be cleaned or attended to – either for safety or hygiene - please let a member of staff know.
Talk to a nurse for more information or download the National Health and Medical Research Council's Healthcare-Associated Infections - information for patients, visitors and carers (PDF 247.6KB)
Hand hygiene is just as important for patients. Use soap and water to wash your hands or hand sanitiser frequently, particularly before and after eating and using the bathroom.
Ask your visitors to wash and sanitise their hands frequently and if you don’t see your doctor, nurse or another healthcare worker sanitise their hands before assisting you, you can ask them to do so.
At Western NSW LHD, we want to ensure you get the right care, in the right place, at the right time and we have a number of support systems in place to ensure this happens.
One of these systems is called REACH. REACH is a system that you, your family or carer can use if you notice a worrying change or have serious concerns in your condition.
You and your family know you better than anyone, so we want you to tell us, or ask a family or carer to tell us, if you notice a worrying change or a serious concern in your condition. At any time, you can ask the nurse or doctor for your condition and care to be reviewed. We call this a ‘clinical review’.
If you feel like your concerns haven’t been heard, or the condition is getting worse, you can make a REACH call. REACH calls go to a team that give an independent assessment of your condition and can help with your concerns.
In Western NSW Local Health District these are the REACH phone numbers to call:
- Bathurst Health Service – (02) 6330 5308
- Bloomfield Hospital, Orange – (02) 6369 3910
- Dubbo Health Service – 0417 083 199
- Orange Health Service – (02) 6369 3910
- All other hospitals and facilities – 1800 569 000
When making a REACH call, tell the operator:
- that you need a REACH call
- your name and if you are a patient, family member or carer
- the name of the ward (or facility)
- your bed number.
Will I offend staff if I make a REACH call?
No. We want patients, family members and carers to be involved and help us create the best experience for you or the person you care for during your hospital stay.
Talk to a nurse for more information or download the Clinical Excellence Commission's REACH information for patients (PDF 1.36MB).
Download the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality Healthcare Top tips for safe healthcare booklet (PDF 645.38KB)