Patient Safety

Patient Safety - The Patient's Role

As a patient, you can play a vital role in making your care safe by becoming an active, involved and informed participant in your health care.

Ask Questions

  • Speak up if you have concerns. It's okay to ask questions and to expect answers you can understand.
  • Choose a doctor who you feel comfortable talking to about your health and treatment.
  • Don't be afraid to ask about safety.
  • Don't be afraid to tell the nurse or doctor if you think you are about to receive the wrong medication or you think he or she has confused you with another patient.
  • Notice whether your caregivers have washed their hands or used the alcohol hand cleaner. Hand hygiene is the most important way to prevent the spread of infections. Don't be afraid to gently remind a doctor or nurse to do this.


  • Keep a list of all medications you take.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter medicines, supplements and herbs, and any drug allergies you have.

Test Results

  • Make sure you get the results of all tests and procedures.
  • Thoroughly read all medical forms and make sure you understand them before you sign anything. If you don't understand something, ask your doctor.


  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be with you and to be your advocate.
  • You might consider creating a durable power of attorney for healthcare document.

Active Involvement in Care

  • Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of your healthcare plan.
  • You and your doctor should agree on what will be done during your care.
  • Know who is caring for you.