Patient Safety: A Partnership

At Lahey Clinic, we take many steps to keep our patients safe. But safety involves more than expertise and high quality medicine. We also ask our patients to take an active role in their medical care. Through an active partnership, we aim to keep you safe during your visit or hospital stay.

Here you can read about how all patients can help us improve safety.

Talk to us. Good communication is essential to safe care. We’ll make every effort to keep you informed about your condition and plan of care.

  • Ask questions and tell us if you have concerns. Write down your questions so you’ll remember to ask them.
  • Share important health information with your team, like what medications you take and what allergies you have.
  • Before you leave, make sure you know when to follow up.

Identify yourself. Before we give you medications or perform any procedure or test, we’ll check your name, date of birth and/or Lahey Clinic number. You may feel like you need to repeat this process often, but confirming that the right patient is getting the right treatment is a basic principle of good care. If you’re admitted to the hospital, make sure this information is correct on your ID band.

Know your medications. Keep an updated list of your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins or herbal supplements. Share this list with your health care providers each time you visit. Ask your pharmacist or health care provider to explain why you are taking the medication, what the side effects may be, and whether you should avoid any food, drink or activities while taking it.

Help prevent infections. There are many ways that patients can help avoid infection in the health care setting.

  • Hand washing: Hand washing is the best way to prevent infection. Members of your health care team should wash their hands (with an alcohol-based hand rub, or soap and water) before caring for you. Your family, friends and visitors should also wash their hands before and after visiting you. We encourage you to ask people to wash their hands if you do not see them do so. To keep your hands clean, use plenty of soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds, or about as long as it takes to sing the ABCs. You may also use the alcohol-based hand rub available throughout the Clinic.
  • Coughs and colds: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you have a cough or cold, please ask for a mask. If you are an inpatient, please ask your family and friends not to visit if they have a fever or cough.
  • Vaccines: Flu and pneumonia vaccines can help prevent serious illness among elderly and high-risk patients. Ask your doctor or nurse whether you should be vaccinated.

Help prevent falls. If you need help getting around, please ask any staff member. We’d be happy to assist you. If you see any possible dangers (such as a wet floor), please tell a staff member. If you use a wheelchair, lock the brakes and move the footrests out of the way when getting in or out. If you are admitted to the hospital, keep you eyeglasses nearby, and alert the nursing staff if you need help.

Be aware of equipment around you. If an alarm goes off on a piece of medical equipment, do not turn it off. Staff will respond to the alarm.

If you have questions or concerns about your safety or care, please speak to a member of your health care team. If your concerns are not addressed, call the Customer Relationship Management Department at 781-744-8556.

Read tips from the National Patient Safety Foundation on communicating with your health care provider.