The Joint Commission: Speak Up About Your Care

Speak up

• If you don’t understand something or if something doesn’t seem right.

• If you speak another language and would like a translator.

• If you need medical forms explained.

• If you think you’re being confused with another patient.

• If you don’t recognize a medicine or think you’re about to get the wrong medicine.

• If you are not getting your medicine or treatment when you should.

• About your allergies and reactions you’ve had to medicines.

Pay attention…

• Check identification (ID) badges worn by doctors, nurses and other staff.

• Check the ID badge of anyone who asks to take your newborn baby.

• Don’t be afraid to remind doctors and nurses to wash their hands.

Educate yourself…

• So you can make well-informed decisions about your care.

• Ask doctors and nurses about their training and experience treating your condition.

• Ask for written information about your condition.

• Find out how long treatment should last, and how you should feel during treatment.

• Ask for instruction on how to use your medical equipment.

Advocates (family members and friends) can help…

• Give advice and support — but they should respect your decisions about the care you want.

• Ask questions, and write down important information and instructions for you.

• Make sure you get the correct medicines and treatments.

• Go over the consent form, so you all understand it.

• Get instructions for follow-up care, and find out who to call if your condition gets worse.

Know about your new medicine…

• Find out how it will help.

• Ask for information about it, including brand and generic names.

• Ask about side effects.

• Find out if it is safe to take with your other medicines and vitamins.

• Ask for a printed prescription if you can’t read the handwriting.

• Read the label on the bag of intravenous (IV) fluid so you know what’s in it and that it is for you.

• Ask how long it will take the IV to run out.

Use a quality health care organization that…

• Has experience taking care of people with your condition.

• Your doctor believes has the best care for your condition.

• Is accredited, meaning it meets certain quality standards.

• Has a culture that values safety and quality, and works every day to improve care.

Participate in all decisions about your care…

• Discuss each step of your care with your doctor.

• Don’t be afraid to get a second or third opinion.

• Share your up-to-date list of medicines and vitamins with doctors and nurses.

• Share copies of your medical records with your health care team.
The goal of Speak Up™ is to help patients and their advocates become active in their care.

Speak Up™ materials are intended for the public and have been put into a simplified (i.e., easy-to-read) format to reach a wider audience. They are not meant to be comprehensive statements of standards interpretation or other accreditation requirements, nor are they intended to represent evidence-based clinical practices or clinical practice guidelines. Thus, care should be exercised in using the content of Speak Up™ materials. Speak Up™ materials are available to all health care organizations; their use does not indicate that an organization is accredited by The Joint Commission.
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SpeakUp™ Speak Up™ About Your Care
©2018 The Joint Commission | May be copied and distributed | Department of Corporate Communications

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