Personal health is one of our most important assets. Everyone must understand what is happening at every point of healthcare, including any in home services received. It is a patient’s right and responsibility to ask questions and request clarity on every process or medication. Asking questions is our first defense against human error and unintended illnesses.
It’s OK to Ask
Never be embarrassed about asking questions. As a patient, you are not expected to have the knowledge of a doctor or nurse. Ask about medications, what they do, and their side effects. Don’t be too embarrassed to speak up if you think something is wrong. It is a patient’s personal right to know exactly what is happening, what is going into the body, and what could happen as a result of what is entering the body. If anything is unclear, ask again until it becomes clear. Ask to have explanations put into different words that you can understand – commonly called, “layman’s terms”.
Read About It
As a patient, it is your right to have access to all labels, medication inserts, and IV bags that enter your body. Ask to read all labels and IV bags. Ask for literature on treatments and therapies suggested to you. Read everything provided to you by your healthcare provider to gather as much information as possible. If necessary, keep a list of all medications prescribed to you by your doctor, complete with the amounts to be taken and times taken. It is your right to match this information to all labels on drug bottles provided by the in home healthcare professional. Ask to read the labels before receiving the drug and don’t be afraid to speak up if you think you are about to receive the wrong drug. If you cannot do this yourself, ask a family member to advocate for you and help you.
Human Error Happens
Remember that it is your right to fully understand all medications and treatments you are receiving, however, caregivers are human. Errors could happen. This is why it is essential for you to exercise your right to knowledge and double check your medications. Be understanding and patient; often, if the professional has made a mistake, it can be fixed easily. Just be sure to not assume the professional knows best; human error happens. Double checking and owning your health care is your right and responsibility as a patient.
Right To Know
You have the right to know who is coming into your home. Ask for the name of the person before he or she arrives, then ask for identification. Ask to see a badge, and know what that badge will look like before the person arrives. Responsible health care agencies will have a logo that is visible on the website, literature, and personal employee badges. Make sure the company and the individual are identified on the badge. Additionally, the home healthcare worker should check your identity – you have the right to an exchange of knowledge to keep everyone safe.
Right to Personal Hygiene
The home care worker should wash his or her hands before interacting with you. This is the single most important action in preventing disease and illness. It is your right to make sure hands are washed and to ask for hand washing if it is not completed. Even if the professional wears gloves, hands should still be washed to ensure germs are minimized before care is received. It is also your right to ask questions about any medical procedures used to ensure your safety. If there is any step in the process you don’t understand, ask and expect a polite, full explanation.
As a patient, you have the right to full, quality care. Do not accept anything less than the best care. The Vancouver Home Health Care Agency is happy to help you review your rights further and find out more information. At Vancouver Home Health Caring Agency, Caring and Compassion is our business.