Yesterday marked the beginning of something known as National Patient Safety Awareness Week, an event which will find authorities from across the country providing tips and urging doctors and patients alike to do what they can to make sure persons who check in for medical treatment are kept safe throughout the process. It’s an important matter that we all need to take seriously.
To that end, a couple of groups have joined together to encourage safety among those who may rely most on others’ accommodations: children. The Children’s Hospital Association and Ohio Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety are offering a variety of safety tips to parents whose children have to submit to hospital treatment. In doing, they and the organizations involved with the National Children’s Network aim to cut down on readmissions by 20%, safety events by 25%, and incidents of serious harm by 40%.
One of the best things a parent can do to protect their child is by keeping themselves informed of what’s happening after the kid has been checked into the hospital and is about to receive treatment. Some parents or guardians might feel uncomfortable asking an authority figure, i.e. a doctor, a series of questions. But doctors are humans too, and mistakes can be made. Oversight by a parent can go a long way toward protecting your child. If you have concerns about the child’s safety, bring those concerns up with a doctor or nurse, and before treatment begins, don’t be afraid to ask them to double check their charts. It could make a huge difference.
This same cautious nature should extend to any drugs that are given to your child. Keep yourself informed of any medications being provided to your child, what the drugs aim to achieve, and what proper dosage should be. Once a medication has been decided upon, the child should receive an identification band to aid caregivers in administering the medication. If no identification band is given, ask the medical professional why, and query them about any substances prior to administration. If the medication has not been given before, ask them to double check the chart and explain why the new drug is being given.
When it comes time to bring the child home, make sure you know the treatment schedule and levels of medications he or she must be given after their hospital stay. Learn about the side effects that could become apparent, and obtain contact information from the relevant parties so that you can get in touch with a doctor should those side effects make themselves known.
Finally, encourage cleanliness during your child’s hospital stay. Wash your hands at regular intervals, and be willing to remind doctors and nurses to wash their hands as well.