Our mission is to work together in service to the patient, community, and medicine. We’ve been doing that since 1879.

Yet, our health care system has changed so much since then. Today, health care is increasingly complex. To patients, that can be daunting.

Our Patient Safety team works together with a patient’s health care providers and the hospital administration to identify possible risks and pro-actively design the health care delivery system to maximize safety.

In service to our patients, safety is the first consideration in all of our actions and is the responsibility of all health care providers and employees at the UVM Medical Center. We work to design and implement systems and processes that minimize patient injuries as part of our patient safety program.

That said, it is also important for patients to be active participants in their own care. As part of Patient Safety Awareness Week, I wanted to share with you some things you can do to ensure you receive the right care, at the right time.

  1. Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you do not understand, ask again. Don’t worry about being embarrassed if you do not understand. If language is an issue, ask for someone who speaks your language.
  2. Pay attention to the care you get to make sure you are getting the right treatments and medicines by the right health care professionals. Expect health care workers to introduce themselves. Look for their identification (ID) badges. A new mother should know the person who she hands her baby to. If you do not know who someone is, ask for their ID.
  3. Educate yourself about your condition or illness. Learn about the medical tests that you get, and your treatment plan. Knowledge is power. Ask your doctor if he or she has any written information you can keep. at the UVM Medical Center, our Frymoyer Community Health Resource Center provides answers to your health-related questions through our extensive research library and team of medical librarians.
  4. Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate, advisor, or supporter. We all need a little help from our friends. Your advocate may ask questions that you may not think about when you are stressed.
  5. Know what medicines you take and why you take them. Whenever you get a new medicine, tell your doctors and nurses about allergies you have, or negative reactions you have had to other medicines.

Learn more about Quality and Safety at the UVM Medical Center.

Lori Notowitz, RN, MJ, CPPS, is Director of Patient Safety at the University of Vermont Medical Center, part of the James M. Jeffords Institute for Quality and Operational Effectiveness

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