Pediatric Patient Safety
March 6, 2008
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This has never been truer than in the area of medical safety. To highlight National Patient Safety Awareness Week, UT Health Center's Dr. Mom offers a few ideas on how to protect the youngest of patients when they have to be in the hospital.
Medical errors can occur at anytime during a hospitalization, a visit to the doctor’s office, or to the pharmacy. The National Patient Safety Awareness Week is highlighted to help you prevent medical errors, especially in children. Being in the hospital is not a pleasant experience for adults, and from the eyes of a child, can be a very frightening experience.
As a parent, guardian, or caregiver, it is up to you to keep your child safe from medical error while he or she is hospitalized.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality makes the following recommendations to help prevent medical errors in children:
ASK, ASK, ASK:
- Be an active member of your child’s health care team.
- List all medications your child is taking including over the counter medicines and give this list to your child’s physician.
- Inform your doctor of any allergies your child has, as well as any reactions to medicines.
- Make sure you can read the prescription that is written for your child
- Make sure all health care workers wash their hands before attending to your child. Do not be embarrassed or too shy to ask health care workers to wash their hands.
- If your child is having surgery, make sure your child’s physician and the surgeon all agree on exactly what will be done.
- About your child’s condition and treatments
- What is supposed to happen
- Why a test or procedure is being done
- When test or lab results will be available
- The physician and/or pharmacist for information on medicines that are prescribed or given to your child; how they should be administered; any side effects
- A family member or friend to be with you to help be an advocate for your child
- If you do not understand the physician’s instructions, ASK, ASK, ASK until you are satisfied
Help make your child’s clinic visit or hospitalization as safe as possible.
For more information: