How to manage your own safety in hospital
Practical things you can do to stay safe during your hospital stay.
On this page
Please tell your nurse, doctor or other members of your healthcare team if you have any known allergies.
Keeping hands clean
Safe care depends on good hand hygienehand hygiene means cleaning your hands with either soap & water or an alcohol-based hand rub
among our staff, patients and visitors.
We recommend that you use the available hand rub when you enter and leave clinical areas.
Your visitors should also use the hand rub or wash their hands before and after they visit.
It's okay to ask staff if they have washed their hands or used hand rub before they attend to your care.
In hospitals, germs (such as bacteria and viruses) can be present in the body.
It is important to reduce the risk of spreading these germs to others, so sometimes it is necessary to care for patients in a room by themselves. This is called patient isolation.
If you are in isolation, staff might wear gloves, gowns or face masks when they come into your room. This is to help prevent a patient’s bacteria, illness or infection being passed onto others in the ward. It is not always possible to tell how long you will need to be isolated, but your healthcare team will keep you informed.
Medication (medicine) safety
Medication is an important part of your treatment. When you come to hospital, we will ask you about the medicines you take.
As a patient or carer 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 staff
- letting staff know if you've 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
- asking what medicines you are being given and why
- understanding which other medicines, foods or drinks to avoid when taking your medicines.
Falls in hospital are one of the leading causes of injury and death in older Australians. We take falls prevention very seriously and do a number of things to keep you safe.
If you feel that you're at risk of falling, you should tell your nurses, or any other staff looking after you. You, your family or carers can also ask to be included in the development of a falls prevention care plan.
Staying physically active is the most important thing you can do to remain fit and independent. To reduce your risk of falling it's important to include activities that improve your balance and increase your strength.
You can find out more about falls prevention in hospital by asking your healthcare team.
Falls Prevention in Hospital brochure
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Pressure injuries, also known as a pressure
ulcer or bed sore, can occur when you spend long periods of time sitting or lying in the same position.
Your hospital care team will assess your risk of developing pressure injuries when you are being admitted to hospital and then also throughout your hospital stay.
To help avoid pressure injuries:
- keep moving as much as you safely can
- 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.
Check your skin and look for warning signs such as:
- redness or changes in skin colour
- tenderness, pain or itching in affected areas
- broken skin.
Pressure Injury Prevention: Information for Patients and Families brochure
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Treating delirium & confusion
Delirium is used to describe a state of sudden confusion and/or changes in a person’s behaviour and alertness.
Delirium can occur at any age but occurs more often in older people.
Infection or other physical illnesses can cause delirium. Your healthcare team will look for and treat any causes of delirium. It’s important to let staff know of any sudden change in your 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.
Reducing the risk of blood clots
Medication, surgery or being confined to bed can increase your risk of developing a blood clot in your legs or lungs.
We will assess your risk of developing a blood clot, but please feel free to ask your nurse or doctor about this as well.
To reduce the risk of developing a clot:
- take any tablets or injections that your doctor prescribes
- keep your compression stockings on and avoid sitting or lying in bed for long periods if possible
- walk as often as the staff looking after you recommend
- ask what to do to avoid the risk of a blood clot when you go home.
Preventing blood clots brochure
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