Andersen recognizes Patient Safety Awareness Week Published March 2, 2008 By Don C. Hill 36th Medical Group ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Are you aware of the things that you can do to help your health care team provide safe and effective care for you and your loved ones? The National Patient Safety Foundation has designated March 2 - 8 as Patient Safety Awareness Week, and one of the goals is to spread the word to you, the health care consumer. First of all, you should be an active participant in your health care. This means you should understand all of the treatments and medications that are prescribed for you. In other words, ask questions! If you are afraid you will forget some of the information after your visit, ask for information and instructions in writing. You may also bring someone to your appointments to help you remember. If you have a chronic health problem, it's a good idea to carry a short health history in your wallet. Include the name of the illness, the name and phone number of your health care provider and any medications and treatments you are taking. Include over-the-counter medicine and dietary supplements, too. If you have any allergies, also record the allergy and the reaction you have. This way, if you need emergency care or see a new specialist, all of the information is available. Medication logs are available at family practice, the pharmacy and at the aerospace medicine clinic check-in desk. Don't forget to update the medications log and bring with you every time you see your health care provider! When you receive a new prescription, make sure you can read it and understand your health care provider's directions. When you pick it up at the pharmacy, look at both the label and the contents to be sure it is what you expect. If you have any questions, no matter how small, ask before you leave! If you receive liquid medicine, be sure to ask the best way to measure it to get the proper dose. Between medical and dental visits, if you think of a question or concern, write it down. Then you won't forget to ask. You have the right to question everyone involved in your care and to receive answers you understand. If you have a test, don't assume you will be called with the results. Ask a member of your health care team how you will be notified of the results and what to do if you are not by a certain time. If the results take longer than they should, call to obtain the information. If you have questions or concerns about patient safety at the 36th Medical Group, please feel free to call Don Hill, the patient safety manager, at 366-3882. For additional information on your role in promoting safer health care, you may reference http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/20tips.htm.