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Patient Safety at Johns Hopkins Medicine

Johns Hopkins Hospital is committed to excellence. A very important part of that excellence is our commitment to your safety. Patients who are more involved with their care in the hospital tend to do better and stay safer. By working together with physicians, nurses and other hospital staff, you can lower your risk of injury and make your hospital stay as safe as possible.


Here is how you can make your stay a safe and positive experience.

Ask questions.

Ask for an interpreter if you are deaf or hearing impaired, or if English is not your primary language.*

Feel free to talk to your doctor and nurse about any concerns.
We welcome your questions.

Ask questions if you do not understand. It is your body and your right to know.

If you think of questions when your doctor or nurse is not present, write down your questions so that you can ask them at a later time.


Get the most from your treatment.

Ask your doctor and nurse about your treatment plan. Make sure that you understand and agree with that plan.

Ask a family member or friend to listen with you when a diagnosis, treatment plan, test results, or discharge plans are explained. This will help you remember.

Be informed about your treatments. Ask when the treatments will be given and what they are for.

If equipment is used for your care, know what it is for and how it should sound.

Question anything that seems unusual or different from what you were told.

Identify yourself.

Wear you hospital I.D bracelet at all times. If your bracelet comes off, ask someone to get you a new one.

Check the information on your hospital I.D. bracelet to make sure that your name and medical record number are on it.

Make sure all staff check your I.D. bracelet before any procedure or test.


Help prevent the spread of germs.

Be aware that hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs.

Practice good personal hygiene.

Let your nurse know if your gown or linens are soiled.

Staff will welcome your reminder to wash their hands or wear gloves before examining you or giving you your medicine.

Ask friends and relatives who have colds, respiratory symptoms, or other contagious illnesses not to visit you or anyone in the hospital.

Get vaccinated, if it is recommended. Flu and pneumonia vaccines can help prevent illnesses in elderly and high-risk patients.

Get the most from your medicines.

Ask your nurse about your medicines-what they are, what they look like, what they do, when they are given, and what side effects they might have.

If you do not recognize a medicine, verify that it is for you.

Let your doctor or nurse know if you have any allergies or have had previous reactions to any drugs, foods, or latex.

Tell your doctor and nurse about all medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal remedies, and over-the-counter medicines.


Do not take medicines that you brought into the hospital from home, unless told to do so by your doctor or hospital staff.

Ask your nurse for a free copy of The Johns Hopkins Hospital's Guide to Using Medicines the Right Way or to view the 5-minute educational video, Getting the Most From Your Medications.

Be alert to situations in which you could experience a fall.

Ask for help when getting out of bed, especially at night. The hospital is an unfamiliar place and most falls occur when patients try to get out of bed on their own to go to the bathroom.

Make sure the nurse call-button on your bed works and you know how to use it.

Let your nurse know if you will have trouble reaching the call button.

If possible, call for help before the need to get to the bathroom becomes urgent.

Make sure there is adequate light to see, and keep your eyeglasses within reach.

Wear slippers with rubber soles to prevent slipping.

Point out to staff any spills or obstructions on the floor.


Make sure the brakes are locked when you get into and out of a wheel chair.

Personal Items.

Pay careful attention to where you place your dentures, hearing aids, and eye glasses, as they are all important to your comfort and well-being.

Dentures are best stored in a cup.

Glasses and hearing aids are best kept in a case with your name on it when you're not wearing them. These items should be placed in the top drawer of your bedside table.

Prepare yourself for when you go home.

Make sure you are clear about discharge instructions including medicines you need and information about a follow-up visit. Be sure you are given a phone number to call if you have questions.

Continue safe practices at home.

Talk with your doctors and pharmacist. Ask questions, and write down what they say.

You can get bed-side rails at home if you need them.

Keep a phone or a bell near your bed if you might need help.

Never smoke in bed.

Be very cautious if you have oxygen equipment at home.
It is highly flammable.

If you have medical equipment that needs to be plugged in, use a grounded or three-prong connector. Do not use extension cords.


Related Articles

Additional information about Johns Hopkins committment to patient safety:


New Partners in Safety: The Children's Center looks to parents for help in keeping little patients safe

Walking the Talk of Patient Safety

Changing Focus of Traditional Hospital "Rounds" Improves Patient Care

Blame it on the System


*Ask for an interpreter if you are deaf or hearing impaired, or if English is not your primary language. *

*Pida a un intérprete si usted es sordo o tiene oído dañado, os si inglés no es su idioma primario.

*Demander un interprète si vous êtes sourd, ou si vous êtes dur d'oreille, ou si l'anglais n'est pas votre langue primaire.

*Chiedere un interprete se lei sono sordo o l'udienza indebolita, o se Inglese non è la sua lingua primaria.

*Bitten Sie um einen Dolmetscher, wenn Sie taubes oder verschlechtetes Gehör sind, oder, wenn Englisch nicht ihre hauptsächliche Sprache ist.