Patient Safety

West Haldimand General Hospital is committed to improving patient safety, reducing risk and respecting the dignity of those we serve by assuring a safe environment. We recognize that medical/health care error reduction requires an integrated and coordinated approach and have developed many protocols to minimize physical injury, accidents and undue psychological stress during hospitalization. These organization-wide safety programs
include all activities contributing to the maintenance and improvement of patient safety.


Staying Safe

Patient Safety Tips

Wash your hands when you visit the hospital or other healthcare environments and ask your doctor or healthcare provider to do the same.
• Make your doctor aware if you have seen or are seeing more than one doctor about your problems.
• Make sure that all health professionals involved in your care have important health information about you. Don’t assume they have all the information they need about you.
• Keep a medical journal that records the details about your treatment and care. Include information such as medications prescribed, tests you received and other important information provided by your healthcare team. If you’re unable to do this, ask a friend or family member to do this for you.
• When you visit the doctor or go to the hospital, bring your medications – or an updated list – with you.
• Ask someone to be your health advocate to take notes, ask questions and if needed, make decisions on your behalf.
• Be aware of your surroundings in hospitals or other healthcare settings such as spills or equipment that may cause you to slip or fall.
• Find out why a test or treatment is needed and how it can help you. Make sure you know what is involved and what the expected outcomes are.
• If you have a test, don’t assume that no news is good news. Find out when and how you will get the results of tests or procedures. If you do not get them when expected, don’t assume the results are fine. Call your doctor and ask for them.
• Make sure any prescriptions your doctor writes are legible and that you know the name of the drug prescribed.
• Ensure your doctor knows all the medications, herbal supplements or vitamins you are taking. Over-the-counter medications, such as cold medicine or vitamins, can have an effect on prescription medications.
• Take your medications as prescribed. Ensure you understand what the medicine is for, how you are supposed to take it and any possible side effects. If you are unclear about a medication or are concerned about side effects, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
• Keep track of any adverse reactions or allergies you have to food or medications.
• If you’re being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to write down any treatment plans or instructions you will need at home. This information should be shared with your family doctor as well.
• While you are a patient – before consuming any food/beverage that has not been provided to you by hospital staff, please check to ensure that it is okay for you. Certain tests/diet restrictions may limit what you are able to take.

Preventing Falls

We want you to be able to move about as freely as possible while in our hospital, but it is important to remember that falls happen in hospitals for many reasons, including
• weakness, dizziness, etc. - due to tests, medications or surgery
• unfamiliar surroundings
• different beds and chairs then you have at home
• poor footwear
• your weakened condition

To reduce your risk of falling
• wear slippers or shoes that have a firm fit and non-slip soles
• don't let clothing or belts drag on the floor
• move slowly and carefully when getting up from a bed or chair
• call for assistance
• do not remove or adjust safety belts or side rails on the bed; instead, push your call bell for help
• if you wear glasses or hearing aids at home, please wear them while in the hospital
• do not lean on tables, chairs or hospital equipment for support
• use your cane or walker as you would at home
• you may need to ring your call bell for assistance during the night due to unfamiliar surroundings, sleep medications, etc.

Please discuss any concerns with your nurse.

Keep Moving!

Research shows that bed rest is not a good way to recover from many
different conditions and may actually make recovery time longer. In fact, staying in bed and not moving can lead to problems with breathing, skin breakdown (bed sores), muscle loss, weakness, tiredness and confusion.

Although there can be risks to moving around, staying in bed can actually be riskier to overall health and well-being. There are many things that can be done to avoid falls and stay safe while moving around in the hospital. People who stay in bed are at risk of losing their ability to move around and do their own personal care, such as washing and dressing. If you don’t use it, you lose it!

How to stay active while in the hospital
Every little bit of activity can help to keep you healthy. If you are not sure what you are safe to do, ask a member of your healthcare team.
Continue to perform tasks that you were able to do at home, such as dressing or walking to the washroom. Ask someone to bring your clothes, shoes, grooming supplies and gait aids. A few things you can do during your stay:
1. Sit up for all of your meals, either in a chair or at the edge of the bed.
2. Sit up in a chair when you have visitors.
3. Walk around the unit, either alone or with help
4. Do bed exercises on your own throughout the day

Infection Control

West Haldimand General Hospital is committed to providing safe patient care. A very important part of safe care is ensuring our patients do not acquire an infection while in hospital. Effective Infection Control is a team effort. Our patients and families are an essential part of that team. Your healthcare team will do everything to ensure you are not exposed or put at risk for any type of infection.

Just Clean Your Hands!
We ask that all visitors use the alcohol-based hand rubs located in dispensers at the entrances of the hospital and throughout the patient units.

Hands need to be cleaned:
- On your way in and out of the hospital
- When entering or leaving a patient's room
- After using the washroom
- Before you eat a meal
If you need help with hand hygiene, please ask a nurse.

Hand hygiene is very important for all of our staff as well. Our staff work hard to keep their hands clean and not to pass germs from one person to another. However, if you think your healthcare provider may have forgotten to clean their hands, it’s OK to ask them if they did. In fact, we encourage it!

Preventing Infections
There are a number of precautions WHGH uses to stop germs from moving from one person to another. A few of these include:
• a comprehensive hand hygiene program
• well-trained housekeeping staff who take pride in providing a clean
• careful consideration for patient placement
• isolation of patients who may have a potentially infectious illness
• laboratory screening
• staff may advise visitors to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and teach proper handwashing techniques

Antimicrobial stewardship is an initiative to help make sure you receive the right antibiotics when they are needed, and help avoid unnecessary consequences of antibiotic use, such as side effects. Our antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist works with your doctor to ensure you receive the necessary antibiotic at the right dose and for the right length of time. By doing this, we are getting the best outcomes possible for each patient.

Click here to learn more about how you can keep patients, staff and visitors safe.