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Patient Safety Authority Supports 'National Patient Safety Day'
Date:7/25/2008

The Authority offers patients consumers tips and encourages them to

'Speak Up'(TM) for improved patient safety

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority today supports "National Patient Safety Day" which is a national effort to encourage patients and their families to participate fully in their healthcare by asking questions and learning everything they can about their surgery or illness.

"We understand the important role the patient has in preventing medical errors by participating in their own healthcare," Mike Doering, executive director of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority said. "We've received reports of harm being prevented because a patient or family member spoke up and asked a question or provided additional information."

The Authority encourages patients to participate in their own healthcare by following guidance in "Consumer Tip" sheets. The tip sheets provide information on how patients can help reduce the risk of medical mistakes occurring to them while they are being treated in the healthcare arena. The consumer tips are based upon real life medical errors that have either occurred or were prevented in Pennsylvania healthcare facilities and published in Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisories.

Topics of the consumer tips include how to prevent: infections, wrong-site surgery, falls and medication errors. The tips also give patients information on the importance of knowing their medical history, knowing what to expect when taking antibiotics and the real risks associated with pregnancy and x-rays.

Patients and their loved ones are also encouraged to participate in their healthcare by "speaking up" or asking questions and providing any additional information that may be helpful in treating them. The Authority re-published "Speak Up"(TM): Help Prevent Errors in Your Care," brochure originally published by The Joint Commission that gives consumers useful information on how they can assure quality care for themselves and their loved ones. Some tips include:

-- Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don't understand ask again. It's your body and you have a right to know.

-- Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you're getting the right treatments and medications by the right health care professionals. Don't assume anything.

-- Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing, and your treatment plan.

-- Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.

-- Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common health care mistakes.

-- Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has undergone a rigorous on-site evaluation against established, state-of-the-art quality and safety standards.

-- Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

The Authority also provides several links on its consumer web page at http://www.psa.state.pa.us with more information and resources patients and family members can use to prevent medical errors.

"We should have confidence in our doctors and nurses treating us, but it's perfectly acceptable to ask questions to help ensure your safety," Doering said. "The Authority will continue to provide guidance to Pennsylvania's healthcare facilities to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety; however consumers of the healthcare system can help by getting more involved in their healthcare."

The July 25, 2008, National Patient Safety Day is a grassroots collaboration of community-based patient safety advocates throughout the country. The Authority collaborated with the Pulse of PA, the Pennsylvania patient safety advocacy organization to raise awareness of the effort to get patients more involved in their healthcare. For more information on Pulse of PA go to http://www.pulseofpa.org. For more information on the Patient Safety Authority and consumer tips information go to http://www.psa.state.pa.us.


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority
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