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Patients and Families

What can I do to learn about patient safety?

The UVa Health System can help you:

  • Learn the medications you take and why. Here is a Personal Medicine List you can print out in English and in Spanish
  • Sign up for a MyChart account. Your personalized and secure on-line access to portions of your medical record.

UVa employees keep patients safe by following:

Where can I find more information about Patient Safety?

  • Visit the Joint Commission's Patient Safety Website.
  • Visit the website of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). AHRQ is a federal agency that works to improve health care for all Americans.
  • Visit the website of the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF). NPSF is an organization that works to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors.
  • Josie King Foundation The mission of the Foundation is to prevent patients from dying or being harmed by medical errors. Try their Patient Journal App, a new, free iPhone app to help patients and families manage health care information.
  • VigiAccess Search data from the World Health Organization’s (the “WHO”) global database for ADRs (Adverse Drug Reactions).
  • Use to search for health information. Medlineplus provides up-to-date information about medicines and diseases. It is also available in Spanish.

For Family and Friends

Family and friends play a major role in a patient's health and well-being. Everyone who is sick needs someone who can look out for their best interests. It is helpful have one main support person or "advocate." As your partner, this person can help us understand and meet your needs. He or she can help you understand your options, treatments and plan of care. At UVa we offer the Care Partners program to identify one or two support persons. In Virginia, there are legal options available. Financial and legal decisions can be made by the person you name as a "Durable Power of Attorney." Medical decisions can be made by the person named as an "Agent for Health Care Decisions."


Ensuring Your Safe Care

There are many things you can do to be an informed, active participant in your health care and so increase your health care safety.

  • Learn as much as possible about your illness and treatment options. Know what medications you take and why. Write down your questions and practice asking them.
  • Pay attention to and report your symptoms--pain, nausea, drowsiness, etc.--or if something just doesn't "feel right."
  • Let your health care team know about all your medicines, including over the counter or herbals, allergies, and situations in which you have had complications or reactions to medicines or treatments. Be sure they have any important health information about you.
  • Be sure health care providers correctly identify you by looking at your identification bracelet.
  • Ask health care providers to identify themselves and explain what they are doing.
  • Be sure all who have direct contact with you wash their hands.
  • Ask a family member or friend to be present when talking with your physician or others to help recall what was said, to take notes, or to ask questions.
  • Pay attention to the care you are receiving and make sure you are getting the right treatments and medications by the right health care providers. Always ask what the treatment or medicine is for and how it might help you. Speak up if you have questions or concerns.
  • Side rails are on the bed for your safety. Use the call button if you need help.
  • If you are leaving your room, let your nurse know. Wear shoes or safety skid slippers.
  • You are the center of your health care team. No question is insignificant. Ask about anything and everything you don't understand.