Tips for safer healthcare

Tips for you to understand and be involved towards better, safer, healthcare.

On this page

Be actively involved in your healthcare

Take part in every decision so you get the best possible care for your needs, importantly:

  • Speak up if you have any questions or concerns
    Ask questions and expect answers you can understand. Ask a family member, carer or interpreter to be there if you want.
  • Learn more about your condition or treatments
    Collect as much reliable information as you can. Ask your health professional:
    • What should I look out for?
    • What else can you tell me about my condition, tests and treatment?
    • How will the tests or treatments help me, and what is involved?
    • What are the risks, and what is likely to happen if I don't have this treatment?
  • Get the results of any test or procedure
    Ask who to call, when the results are expected to be ready and ask what they mean for your care.
  • Ask about your options
    Ask how quickly you need the treatment, surgery or procedure - and if you can have it done as a day patient.
  • Make sure you understand what will happen
    Ask what your treatment, surgery or procedure will involve, if there are any risks and what your options are. Tell your healthcare professional if you have allergies, or if you have ever had a bad reaction to any medicines.
  • Before you leave hospital, check what you need to do at home
    Make sure you understand your continuing treatment, medicines and follow-up care.

Advise us of medications

If you are taking any medications (pills, medicines or herbal remedies) please bring them with you and hand them to the nursing staff who will record what you are taking. For those patients who are taking rongoa Maori, please advise your nurse or a member of the Maori Health team as some rongoa may affect prescribed medication.

If there are details or any treatment you need or allergies that you have please tell us.

The doctor will need to review your medication and any changes will be discussed with you. We recommend you dispose of any pills/medicines that have been stopped. Your nurse can help you with this.

Preventing falls

If you fall while you are in hospital, you could be injured and need to stay longer. Most falls happen when people are getting in or out of their bed, their bedside chair or going to the toilet.

Remember, it's okay to ask for help if you feel unsteady or if there is anything you are not sure about.

Our staff are here to help and we will work with you, caregivers, family/whānau, and support people to keep you safe.

  • We want you to be as safe as possible while in our care
  • We do not want you to fall and hurt yourself while you are in hospital
  • It's okay to ask for help if you need it.

  • Keep important items within reach, including your call button or call bell.
  • Take your time when you get up. Call one or our friendly staff if you feel dizzy, weak, or light-headed - don't get up by yourself.
  • Ask us for help getting to the bathroom or toilet, and use the bell there to ask for help if you don't feel well, or when you are ready to go back.
  • Take extra care on wet or slippery floors.
  • Watch out for any clutter or obstacles in your way, and ask one or our team to move them.
  • Use the handrails in the bathroom and hallway.
  • Use only unmoving objects to help steady yourself. Don't use your IV pole, tray table, wheelchair, or other objects that can move.
  • If you have glasses, hearing aids or walking aids, use them.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes or non-skid slippers every time you get up. If you need assistance, ask for help to put them on.
  • Make sure your clothing is not too long or too loose - it might trip you up.
  • At night, turn on the light before you get out of bed, and turn on the light in the toilet.

The following video has been produced by the Health Quality & Safety Commission, launched as part of its national patient safety campaign. It covers a range of topics, preventing falls in hospital, staying safe on your feet at home, preventing falls in an aged residential care facility and staying on your feet in the community.

Further information around patient safety visit hqsc.govt.nz