What You Can Do

Indiana University Health West Hospital's primary goal is to provide you - the health care consumer - with patient care services second to none so that you might achieve the best possible health. This is a goal that can best be met by working together.

Everyone has a role in making health care as safe possible. By becoming an active, involved and well-informed member of your health care team, you can play a vital role in helping your health care team provide the highest quality care possible.

There are many things you can do to help:

Learn More About Your Procedure

IU Health West Hospital believes the more active you are in managing your overall health, the happier and healthier you will be. We want to help you understand what to expect before, during and after a medical procedure.

If you are scheduled for an upcoming surgical or diagnostic procedure, or have a chronic condition, your physician may ask you to view important information using an online education program called Emmi. This program, which takes about 20 minutes to complete, will help you understand your procedure and what you should expect. You may view the program as many times as you'd like.

Get started using Emmi

Five Steps to Safer Health Care

Step 1

Choose a physician you are comfortable talking to. Speak up if you have questions or concerns. Take a friend or relative along to help you understand the answers to your questions.

Step 2

Keep a list of all the medications you take. Include the amount of each dose and the time you take them. Be sure to tell your physician and pharmacist about all of the medications you're taking, including over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen (Advil), vitamins and herbal supplements. Mention any drug allergies.

Step 3

Make sure you get the results of tests or procedures. Ask your doctor or nursing caregiver when and how you will be given your results. If you don't receive them when expected, call your doctor. Ask what your results mean for your care.

Step 4

If you need to receive care as a patient in the hospital, talk with your doctor and your health care team about your options. Before you leave the hospital, be sure you understand any specific instructions for care, as well as your plan for follow-up care. Don't be shy about asking questions.

Step 5

If you need surgery, make sure you understand what will happen. Ask your physician and surgeon the following questions:

  • Exactly what will the surgeon be doing?
  • How long will it take?
  • How long will recovery take?
  • What do I need to know about follow-up care?

Medication Safety

Many new medications look alike, and their names may either look alike or sound very similar. How can you be sure you are taking the right medications? Here are some important tips for preventing medication errors:

  • Ask your physician why you are taking certain medications. Write this information down, for future reference. IU Health West Hospital provides a pocket-sized Medication Record to all patients upon admission, and they are also available upon request.
  • Be familiar with your medications and what they look like. If a medication looks different than expected, ask your nurse, physician or pharmacist to double-check the prescription. The answer may be simply that the hospital uses a different brand of the same medicine, which may look a little different from what you're used to. But, it's important to ask the question - IU Health West Hospital's physicians, pharmacists and nursing caregivers are happy to find an answer.
  • When hospitalized, do not take any medications from home - not even an aspirin - unless you first discuss it with your physician or nursing caregiver.

Fall Prevention

Most falls occur when patients try to get out of bed on their own - often while trying to get to the bathroom. Upon admission, IU Health West Hospital assesses each patient's risk of fall. If caregivers believe a patient is at risk for falling - and potentially injuring themselves - the patient is given a colored arm band, colored footies and a colored magnet is placed on the door frame just outside their room. In the Pediatrics unit, an image of Humpty Dumpty identifies those patients at risk of falling.

These steps help caregivers from all over the hospital identify these patients, and ensure they remain as safe and secure as possible throughout their stay.

How can you help prevent falls? Here are some important tips:

  • Ask for assistance from your nursing caregivers - especially at night.
  • Keep your call button within reach.
  • Immediately report any spills or objects that are on the floor.
  • Wear footwear with rubber soles to prevent slipping on the floors.
  • Make sure you have adequate light to see. If you wear glasses, keep them within reach.
  • Some medications may cause you to frequent the bathroom more often. Work with your nursing caregivers to schedule time to use the bathroom every two hours. Ask for help before getting up or out of bed.
  • Some patients may become confused or agitated while in the hospital. Occasionally, protective devices (such as siderails, safety mitts or vests) may be needed to keep patients safe. Please ask your nursing caregiver if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Infection Prevention
  • Germs and bacteria exist in every home, workplace and hospital. When you are ill or have had surgery, you are more susceptible to infection. You can help minimize your risk of infection:
  • Remind nurses, physicians, therapists and other members of your care team to practice good hand hygiene.
  • Ask family members or friends who have colds or other respiratory symptoms not to visit you in the hospital.
  • Ask your physician if you should have a flu or pneumonia vaccine to minimize your risk. All patients at IU Health West Hospital are screened for history of vaccination upon admission. If these vaccines have not been received in the recent past, both the flu and pneumonia vaccine are offered and administered, as appropriate.
  • Some patients may be on "isolation precautions" to either protect them from getting infections, or to keep them from spreading infections. If you or a loved one is on "isolation precautions," please ask our physicians and nursing caregivers what you can do to help, and follow all guidelines (visitation and otherwise) they tell you about.
  • Wash your hands. Washing your hands often, and especially after using the bathroom, is one of the most important ways you can help prevent the spread of infection. Please ask your nursing caregiver if you have any questions.

Infection Prevention

Germs and bacteria exist in every home, workplace and hospital. When you are ill or have had surgery, you are more susceptible to infection. You can help minimize your risk of infection:

  • Remind nurses, physicians, therapists and other members of your care team to practice good hand hygiene.
  • Ask family members or friends who have colds or other respiratory symptoms not to visit you in the hospital.
  • Ask your physician if you should have a flu or pneumonia vaccine to minimize your risk. All patients at IU Health West Hospital are screened for history of vaccination upon admission. If these vaccines have not been received in the recent past, both the flu and pneumonia vaccine are offered and administered, as appropriate.
  • Some patients may be on "isolation precautions" to either protect them from getting infections, or to keep them from spreading infections. If you or a loved one is on "isolation precautions," please ask our physicians and nursing caregivers what you can do to help, and follow all guidelines (visitation and otherwise) they tell you about.
  • Wash your hands. Washing your hands often, and especially after using the bathroom, is one of the most important ways you can help prevent the spread of infection. Please ask your nursing caregiver if you have any questions.