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Your Safety

Akron General Medical Center is committed to your safety and care. We encourage you to be a patient safety advocate for yourself or loved one, whether you're being seen at the doctor's office for a cold, during an unexpected trip to the Emergency Department or when planning a scheduled surgery.

Patient safety is built on a partnership between patients, families and healthcare professionals. It is the right of every patient to be actively engaged in their care - to fully understand the treatment they are receiving and to have all of their questions answered and their concerns addressed. If you have a concern about your safety while you are or were a patient at Akron General Medical Center, we encourage you to contact:

Quality Improvement Department
Akron General Medical Center
1 Akron General Avenue
Akron, OH 44307

If your concerns cannot be resolved through the hospital, you can contact the Joint Commission at 1-800-994-6610 or via email at:

All communication will be held confidential, unless otherwise requested or required by law.

Watch a Helpful Video on Safety

Here are tips on how to be a safety advocate:

Ask Questions
There may be a number of people involved in your care. Feel free to ask questions about your care and to express your preferences and concerns. You may want to bring a family member, friend or caregiver with you during your admission. A friend can put you more at ease, remind you to ask certain questions and help you recall special instructions later on.

Have an Advocate
Ask a family member or friend to accompany if you are unable to participate fully.

Understanding Your Medical Condition
We will be happy to answer your questions about your condition. In addition, we have literature, videos, classes and Internet access to help you learn more. Health education video programs are available on Channel 39 of your television. Tune to Channel 38 for details on videos. Our Community Health Library is located in the main lobby and offers patients and visitors medical information and assistance.

Understand Your Treatment and Care Plan
Understand what is going to happen during your hospital stay or procedure.

If You Are Having Surgery
Make sure you understand what will happen if you are having surgery. You, your doctor and surgeon should all agree on exactly what will be done during the operation. Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist and nurses if you have allergies or have ever had a bad reaction to anesthesia.

Some questions to ask the surgeon:

  • Who will take charge of my care while I'm in the hospital?
  • Exactly what will you be doing?
  • About how long will it take?
  • What will happen after the surgery?
  • How can I expect to feel during recovery?

    Describing Symptoms
    A physical examination evaluation and medical tests provide valuable information about your condition, but your description of symptoms is key in your diagnosis and treatment. When asked about your symptoms, try to identify when the symptoms started, what time of day they occur, how long they last, how often they occur, and if they are getting better or worse. The more details you can give us, the better.

    Patient Identification
    The patient identification bracelet (ID band) you receive on admission is important for many reasons. This band has your medical record number on it and is how you are identified at Akron General. Do not let anyone give you medications, tests or procedures without checking your ID band every time. When specimens are obtained, make sure the specimen containers are labeled with your name in your presence.

    Staff Identification
    All Akron General employees, volunteers and physicians wear name badges that identify their names and departments. If an employee, volunteer or physician is not wearing a name badge, please ask him or her to put it on, or ask for another staff person.

    Diabetes and Infection
    If you have diabetes, talk to you doctor about controlling your blood sugar before and after hospital stays.

    Test Results
    Make sure you get the results of all tests and procedures. Ask the doctor or nurse when and how you will get the results. Don't assume the results are okay. If you don't hear anything, call the doctor and ask questions.

    Know Your Allergies
    Keep a list of medications and foods you are allergic to and share this with each physician you might have.

    Know Your Current Medications
    Your doctor, nurse and pharmacist have major roles in medication safety while you are in the hospital. They select the medication that's best for you, prescribe the correct dose, dispense the medication correctly and label it clearly. They also check to see that it's working and monitor you for side effects. For your protection, we have a system of checks and balances in place. Each medication order is checked and double-checked by pharmacy and nursing staff.

    You play an important part in safely managing your medications. As a patient or family member, your role is key. You share the responsibility for safe medication use. You owe it to yourself and your family to learn as much as you can about the medications you are taking.

    Print and Use this Medical Information Card

  • When you are admitted to the hospital bring a list of the medications you are taking, including dose and how often you take them; include over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal products. If you don't have time to make a list, bring the medications. Keep them in their original container. After the names of your medications are written down, have your family take them home.
  • Keep a list of medications that you cannot take and the reasons why (e.g. allergic reactions) and provide this list to your healthcare providers.
  • Communicate the way you take your medications, especially if different from how they were prescribed.
  • Whenever a new medication is prescribed, ask questions and if you don't understand the answers, ask again.
  • When in the hospital, ask the nurse or healthcare worker what kind of medication they are giving you and why before you take it.
  • Before any test or procedure, ask if it will require any dyes or medicines and remind your nurse and doctor if you have allergies.

    When a nurse gives you a medication or intravenous (IV) solution, ask what it is for. If you think a medication is not given on time, let your nurse know. If you receive a medication that looks different than it usually does, be sure to question your nurse or other healthcare team member.

    Medications at Discharge

  • Learn the name of each medication that is prescribed for you, why you are taking it, the dosage and the schedule of how you are to take it.
  • Ask if you should avoid any foods, beverages, other medications or activities.
  • Review your discharge instruction sheet and question anything that is unclear or confusing.
  • Repeat the instructions back to the nurse, doctor or pharmacist. This is a good way to verify that you understand it correctly.
  • Read the label, including warnings. Make sure it's the medication your doctor ordered.
  • Request any written information available on the medication.
  • Some medications react with alcohol. If you drink alcohol, be sure to check with your nurse, doctor or pharmacist whether it is safe to do so.
  • Report any reactions, side effects or allergies to your healthcare provider.
  • Keep a list of all medications you take and take them with you to your doctor.
  • Make sure that each of your doctors is aware of medications that other doctors have prescribed for you.
  • Question anything that does not seem right. Be alert to unexpected changes. If you get a prescription refill that seems to have a different strength or appearance, ask questions!
  • If you're having problems with a medication, call your doctor.

    Preventing Falls

  • Wear slippers or shoes with non-skid soles. Hospital floors can be slippery. Get up slowly. Sit on the edge of your bed for a few minutes. If you feel dizzy or weak, put on your call light. Be sure you know how to use your call light. Try it while the nurse is in the room to be sure.
  • Your hospital bed is probably higher and narrower than your bed at home. When needed, call for help getting into or out of bed. If the siderails are up don't try to climb over or between them. Use your call light to get help.
  • If you have an IV line, use your call light to get help moving with your IV.
  • Most of the furniture in your room is on wheels. Don't try to use it for support. Use your call light to get help. Because wheelchairs tip easily, please ask for assistance when getting into or out of one.
  • Keep items within easy reach. Ask your nurse or someone else to place your call light, glasses, phone or other needed items where you can easily get to them.
  • Don't wait until the last minute to go to the bathroom. Get up slowly and ask for help if needed. Make sure the light is on if it's dark.

    Going Home
    Make sure you have the information you'll need for a healthy recovery, including diet, activities and follow-up care instructions.

    Pain Management
    We want you to be as comfortable as possible. Although it may not be possible to eliminate all pain, there are methods to reduce pain to tolerable levels. Please let us know when you are having pain. You will be asked to rate your pain on a scale of 0 - 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being severe pain. Reporting pain as a number helps the doctors and nurses know how well your treatment is working and whether changes should be made.

    Request Vaccinations
    The influenza vaccination is available in the fall and given yearly. The pneumococcal vaccine is given at any time of year and is good for five years.

    Security We provide 24-hour security staff who make frequent rounds. Security staff are also available to escort visitors to their cars. Call extension 47604.

    After You Get Home
    Take medications as instructed and follow up with your doctor's office as you have questions. It is always okay to call the office if you have any questions about your general health, a condition, medication or treatment at any point in your care.

    For more helpful information visit:

    Agency for Healthcare and Research

    National Patient Safety Foundation

    The information contained in this publication should not be considered specific medical advice and is not meant to replace professional medical service.

    Other Important Safety Information for Patients & Visitors

    For your safety and for the safety of our patients and staff, there are some guidelines and information that you will find helpful.

    Use of Tobacco
    Akron General is a tobacco free campus. Smoking and the use of tobacco are prohibited.

    Security Escort Service
    A Security representative is available around the clock to escort you to your car by dialing extension 47604 from inside the hospital. Please allow 10 minutes for the security representative to meet you.

    Concealed Weapons
    In Accordance with Ohio Law, Akron General Health System and its affiliated entities prohibit any person from carrying a concealed handgun or other deadly weapon onto these premises. No person shall knowingly possess, have under the person's control, convey or attempt to convey a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance onto these premises.

    This prohibition does not apply to law enforcement personnel or contracted security money holders.

  • Date Updated: 29-JAN-2015

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