Staying safe & well in hospital

How can we work together to keep you safe & well during your hospital stay?

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What matters to you matters to us

Because we care about what matters to you, we will always ask you to be involved in your own care and safety during your hospital stay. Your family and carers also play an important part in your care, so with your consent, we’ll ask them to get involved too.

 

What matters to you matters to us video

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What matters to you matters to us brochure

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Getting involved in your own care

Doctors, nurses, therapists and other members of your healthcare team will come to see you while you are in hospital to talk about your treatment plans.

When doctors, nurses and allied health staff come to visit you, we call it a clinical round. When nurses change shifts and exchange information at your beside, it's called a nurse handover

We encourage you and your family to take part in discussions when your health care team comes to your bedside by:

  • letting us know about changes in your health over the last 12 or 24 hours
  • telling the team how you’re feeling
  • asking questions about your care plan, medications, tests etc.
  • giving your view about planned care
  • asking when you may be ready to go home (this is called discharge)
  • asking us any other questions you may have
  • sharing information you think we need to know.

Please let staff know if you or your carer would like an interpreter to be present during clinical rounds or nursing handover and they will book one for you.

During restricted visiting hours, your family and carers can still be involved in clinical rounds or handover by dialling into your mobile phone/tablet using video or audio. All of our hospitals have free Wifi.

You can find out more about shared decision making on the Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in Health Care website.

Sharing information is important

The staff involved in your care need current information about your condition and treatment. This helps them to plan care that best meets your individual needs and situation.

The information you provide will be shared with your healthcare team which may include doctors, nurses and allied health staff (physiotherapists, social workers, occupational therapists, dieticians, podiatrists and speech pathologists).

Identifying goals of care

Identifying and agreeing to goals of care creates a shared understanding between patients and their family/carers/other support people and all clinical staff involved in your care.

Goal setting clarifies clinical expectations, personal needs and preferences and the steps needed to achieve your goals of care.

Before any treatment or procedure, staff caring for you will explain what's involved, the risks and benefits and ask if you agree to proceed. This is known as obtaining consent.

It's important to understand what medical treatment or procedures you are consenting (agreeing) to. Please ask questions so you have enough information to make a decision.

You can change your mind and withdraw consent at any time by telling the clinical staff caring for you.

Family members or friends cannot interpret for you to obtain consent. If you don't feel confident in English, a Healthcare Interpreter will be provided for you. All Health interpreter services are free.

Between the Flags – Keeping patients safe

The Between the Flags system helps hospital staff recognise and respond to patients who become seriously unwell.

It mirrors the way Surf Life Savers keep watch at the beach to make sure you remain safe.


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The Between the Flags observation charts are used to record a patient’s breathing rate, heat rate, blood pressure and temperature. The charts are colour coded to help doctors and nurses recognise when patients are becoming more unwell.

To find out more about the Between the Flags system and colour coding, visit the Clinical Excellence Commission website.

If you’re worried, we’re worried

REACH iconREACH is a system for patients, their families and carers to raise concerns with staff about worrying changes in a patient’s condition.

We know that you know yourself or the person you care for best. If you or your family/carer are worried that you are feeling more unwell, please talk to your nurse or team leader. They will organise a clinical review within 30 minutes.

If you are still worried after this, you can make a REACH call by dialling 2222 from a ward phone, or by calling one of the numbers below on your own phone:

  • Auburn (02) 8759 3000
  • Blacktown (02) 9881 8000
  • Mount Druitt (02) 9881 1555
  • Westmead 2222 (this number can only be called from a ward phone)

REACH brochure

REACH at Auburn Hospital

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REACH at Blacktown Hospital

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REACH at Cumberland Hospital

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REACH at Mount Druitt Hospital

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REACH at Westmead Hospital

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Going home

When you arrive in hospital your doctor should tell you the date they expect you will be able to go home (this is called discharge). During your hospital stay (also known as hospital admission) your doctor should tell you if there are any changes to this date.

Discharge involves you, your family or carers determining your needs for when you leave hospital.

Before you leave:

  • pack everything you brought, including any medications, x-rays and scans
  • make sure you know details of any follow-up appointments and treatments
  • make sure you know who to contact if you are worried after discharge
  • ensure you have the contact details of any services that have been arranged for you
  • review any instructions you have been given
  • ask any questions about your medications, activities, diet and care after discharge
  • remove any valuables you have stored in the hospital safe
  • book a time within four days of discharge to take all of your old, and any new medications to your local doctor to discuss any changes and to obtain further supplies
  • request any medical certificates (if needed)
  • collect your discharge summary to give to your local doctor.








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