Patient Safety

Patient safety is one of our nation’s most pressing health care challenges.

What can you do about it? Be involved in your health care!

A key way you can assure your safety as a patient is to be an active member of your health care team. This means taking part in every discussion, activity and decision about your health care.

Medical Emergency Team (MET)

The Medical Emergency Team (MET) of specially-trained clinicians is available to Westerly Hospital’s healthcare staff members to provide additional assistance and guidance anytime a staff member is concerned about a patient’s condition. MET is comprised of an Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) trained Critical Care Nurse, a Respiratory Therapist and a Nursing Supervisor.

The goals of the MET are to provide:

  • Early assessment, intervention and stabilization to prevent clinical deterioration.
  • Reduce incidence of cardiac and/or respiratory arrest outside of the ICU (intensive care unit) or ED (emergency department).
  • Promote earlier transfers to the appropriate unit/level of care.
  • Improve patient outcomes.
  • Increase patient, family and staff satisfaction.
  • Guide and support nursing staff in critical care decision making.

Medication Safety

While you are in the hospital, make sure you understand the medications you are taking and why your doctor is prescribing them for you. If you take medications at home, please bring a list or make sure you know what you take (including vitamins, supplements and herbs). A hospital pharmacist or nurse may consult with you and your community pharmacy for verification.

Your care team will also barcode scan your ID band before giving you medications and ensure you understand what you are being given. This process helps prevent medication errors (e.g., such as when the wrong medication is given by accident or at the wrong time). If you have questions about your medication during your hospital stay, a hospital pharmacist is available to provide education and counseling; just ask your nurse to notify a pharmacist. Please help us partner with you for your medication safety!

Fall Prevention

A hospital can be an unfamiliar place—equipment in your room, new medication and weakness from being ill can all increase your risk of falling. The health care team at Westerly Hospital wants your stay to be the safest possible. We have in place a Fall Prevention Program that tests your fall risk and alerts your care team if you may be at risk for falls. In addition, you may be given brightly colored, non-skid socks to help reduce your risk of falling during your stay with us.

Infection Prevention and Hand Hygiene

Take a Stand, Wash your Hands!

Practicing good hand hygiene is the single most important thing you can do to stop the spread of infection. Everyone caring for you should clean their hands. If you do not see a doctor, nurse or other care team member cleaning their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand gel when entering your room, ask them to clean their hands. They won’t mind!

Why is Hand Hygiene So Important to Your Care?

Germs are everywhere and you can’t see them. When you are hospitalized you can get an infection easier, and infections can keep you in the hospital longer. Good hand hygiene is a critical component to your healthy outcome as well as a healthy lifelong habit.

When Should Staff and Visitors be Cleaning Their Hands?

  • Before entering your room
  • Upon leaving your room

It only takes a few simple words to encourage your care team and visitors to have good hand hygiene. Here are a few suggestions:

“Excuse me, did you wash your hands?”
“Do you mind washing your hands before you touch me?”
“I just noticed that you washed your hands, thank you.”

Special Precautions

Some patients may have illnesses or conditions that require special measures to protect their health and/or prevent the spread of infection. These rooms may be marked with signs like: “Precautions” or “Isolation.” This policy lets care members know you may need special attention to keep you on the road to recovery.

Pressure Ulcer Prevention

Being sick or injured and at rest for a long time can make your skin more fragile, and your skin can break down due to your body’s constant pressure on it. To help avoid pressure ulcers, your care team will encourage or help you to move or shift position often. Please tell us about any areas of your skin that become sore or red.

Patient ID Bands

During your stay, your care team will ask, “For your safety, please tell me your name and date of birth.” They will also check your ID band often to ensure you receive the right medications, tests and procedures.

Fire Drills

The hospital has 12 fire drills yearly. All tests are announced as “Code Red.” Do not be alarmed if you hear the code called. Patients should remain in their rooms unless otherwise instructed by hospital staff. You will hear “All clear” at the end of the test. If you discover smoke or fire, please report to a care team member immediately, activate the nearest alarm or dial extension 222 on your phone.

Speak Up Program

Westerly Hospital is part of a national program to listen better to patients. Speak up! Ask questions about your care and treatments, and tell us if you don’t understand what we are doing or explaining.

External number for Speak Up: Dial (401) 596-6000
Internal number for Speak Up: Dial 0 (Operator) and ask for the supervisor

Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you still don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.

Pay attention to the care you get. Always make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicines. Don’t assume anything.

Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get and your treatment plan.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (an advisor or supporter).

Know what medicines you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common health care mistakes.

Use an accredited hospital, clinic, surgery center or other type of health care organization (Westerly Hospital is Accredited by the Joint Commission).

Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of your health care team.

What Else Can You Do to Help Ensure Your Safety?

  • Ask for help, that is why we are here!
  • Always keep your call light near and use it so we may assist you.
  • Ask family members or close friends to stay with you during times of confusion or sedation.
  • Side rails are used on the beds as a safety measure to prevent falls and injuries. Do not try to climb over them or remove them. Instead, use the call button to get help from our nursing staff should you need it.
  • Follow your care provider’s recommendations for increasing your physical activity level as your condition improves.