Keeping you safe in hospital

Our goal is to provide our patients with the safest possible care. Health care in Australia is among the best and safest in the world, but there are still risks when spending time in hospital. They include the risk of infection, a fall or a pressure injury (bedsore).

Find out how we keep you safe during your hospital stay.

Infection prevention & management

The best way to help prevent infection during your stay is to wash your hands often and well. This also includes anyone who comes to visit you including family and friends, nurses and doctors. It is ok to ask health care workers to wash their hands before providing your care. ·

Use soap and water or alcohol based hand rub to keep your hands clean. ·

  • Always clean your hands and ask others to clean their hands:
    • when entering and leaving your hospital room
    • before and after eating, touching food
    • after using the bathroom after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose

Other ways to help prevent infections during your stay:

  • Please do not touch or fiddle with your bandages, dressings or drips. This includes family and friends. 
  • Do not delay telling your nurse if your intravenous lines (drip), tubes ,drains or wounds become red, swollen or painful
  • Always ask staff if they have cleaned their hands – this is especially important before they touch your wound or intravenous drip. Our staff will not be offended if you ask
  • Ask your family, friends or carers not to visit if they are unwell.
  • If you are prescribed antibiotics to take home with you, it is very important to complete the course until finished.

Medication safety

Medication is an important part of your treatment. When you come to hospital, we will ask you about the medicines you take. Please tell us if you are using:

  • tablets from a pharmacist or supermarket
  • liquid medicine, e.g. cough syrup
  • natural therapies such as herbs and tinctures
  • vitamin supplements
  • medicated creams
  • puffers/inhalers
  • eye drops.

You can help ensure safe medication use by:

  • bringing all of your medicines to hospital with you
  • keeping an up-to-date list of your medicines and showing it to our staff when you come to hospital
  • letting the staff know if you have had any allergies or bad reactions to medicines in the past
  • knowing the name of each of your medicines, what it is for, how it should be taken and any side effects. This is especially important for any new medications
  • asking what medicines you're receiving and why ensuring you receive an updated list of medicines with information about each – what it is for, how to take it and any side effects to look out for before you go home
  • understanding which other medicines, foods or drinks to avoid when taking the medicine.

Patient identification

You will be given an identification band when you're admitted to hospital. Staff may refer to it as an 'ID band' or a 'wrist band'. It will include your name and date of birth, and be placed on your wrist or leg.

You should:

  • make sure the information on the ID band is correct
  • check that you have a red ID band if you have any allergies
  • wear your ID band at all times.

Staff should check your ID band before every test or procedure and before giving you any medication. They will also ask you what your name is and other details, to make sure that the right patient is getting the right treatment every time.

All our hospital staff should be wearing an identification badge. If you can't see their badge, or you're not sure who someone is, please ask.

Preventing falls

Falls are the most common cause of injury in hospital and can delay your recovery. Falling over is more likely in hospital because you're in an unfamiliar environment and may be physically weaker than usual.

It's important that you, your family and staff all work together to reduce the risk of falls by:

  • making sure you can reach the call bell beside your bed
  • using the call bell to ask for help whenever you need it
  • calling for help as soon as you can. We will try to answer it immediately but if the ward is busy, it may take a few minutes before a nurse can get to you
  • wearing supportive, flat, non-slip shoes or slippers
  • bringing your walking frame or stick, glasses or hearing aids to hospital and keeping them close to you
  • turning the light on so you can see before getting out of bed
  • walking and staying active when family, friends and staff are there to help you
  • listening to the advice and recommendations of staff – recovering from illness or surgery takes time, and you might need more help with walking and getting to the bathroom than you realise.
How family and friends can help to prevent falls

If a patient is confused, family members and visitors can help by staying with them as much as possible and letting staff know how to reduce their confusion, if possible. It is also a good idea to let a staff member know when you leave so that they can check on the patient regularly.

For more information, click here.

Do you have concerns about a patient?

As a patient or a family member/friend of a patient, if you are worried about a recent change in your condition or the condition of your family member/friend, you can raise any concerns you have at any time of day or night. If you’re worried, REACH out, by following the below steps:

  • You may Recognise a worrying change in your condition or in the person you care for.
  • Engage (talk) to your nurse or doctors. Tell them your concerns.
  • Ask the nurse in charge for a "Clinical Review". This should occur within 30 minutes.
  • If you are still worried, call REACH. You can use your bedside phone, ask for a ward phone or call 8382 3666 externally, tell the operator you are making a REACH call.
  • Call REACH on 8382 3666. Help is on the way.

Speak to your nurse or doctor first. They may be able to help with your concerns.

Click below for our REACH information sheet in multiple languages:

Avoiding pressure injuries

A pressure injury, also known as a bedsore or ulcer, can form when you sit or lie in the same position for a long time. The risk of a pressure injury increases if you have to stay in bed, have poor circulation or you're not eating well.

A pressure injury can look like a reddened or blistered area on the skin. Bony parts of the body like the heels, tailbone, toes and back of your head are at most risk of a pressure injury.

To help prevent a pressure injury you can:

  • keep moving, as much as it's safe to do so
  • change your sitting or lying position as often as you can
  • look after your skin and tell a staff member if you think it looks or feels different
  • eat a balanced, healthy diet.

We prepare a pressure injury management plan for every patient who will be staying overnight in hospital. Ask your nurse to explain the plan to you.

Understanding delirium

Delirium is a common medical problem and it is used to describe a state of sudden confusion and changes in a person’s behaviour and alertness. Delirium can occur at any age but occurs more often in older people.

Delirium is often associated with infection or other physical illnesses. Staff will do a thorough medical assessment to look for and treat causes of delirium. It’s important to notify staff of any sudden change in a person’s mental or physical condition. 

If you or a family member are diagnosed or suspected of having a delirium speak with staff to see what you can do to help.

In this video, Professor Kay Wilhem describes what Delirium is, how common it is, what to look out for and what happens to the body when it occurs.

   

 

Patient story. 

Please watch this informative video, detailing first-hand, one patient's experience of delirium.

   

 

Click here for more information on Delirium

More information