Ivinson Patient Safety


Ivinson Memorial Hospital is committed to providing a safe environment for all individuals. Promotion of safety and prevention of injury must be the first consideration in all actions, and is the responsibility of all employees, medical staff members, students and volunteers.





"Speak Up" to Help Prevent Errors in Your Care

Everyone has a role in making health care safe - physicians, health care executives, nurses and technicians, and patients. To help prevent health care errors at Ivinson Memorial Hospital, we participate in the "Speak Up" program, which urges patients to get involved in their care. You, as the patient, can play a vital role in making your care safe by becoming an active, involved and informed member of your health care team.

An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report has identified the occurrence of medical errors as a serious problem in the health care system. The IOM recommends, among other things, that a concerted effort be made to improve the public's awareness of the problem.

The "Speak Up" program, sponsored by the Joint Commission, urges patients to get involved in their care. Such efforts to increase consumer awareness and involvement are supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their health care are more likely to have better outcomes. Some simple advice on how you, the patient, can "Speak Up" to help make your care a positive experience follows:

Speak up if you have questions or concerns and continue asking until you reach an understanding. It is your body and you have a right to know.

  • Your health is very important, too important to worry about feeling embarrassed if you do not understand what IMH physicians and staff are telling you.
  • Do not feel afraid to ask about safety. For example, if you are having surgery, it is OK to ask the doctor to mark the area that will be operated on.
  • Do not feel afraid to tell your physician or nurse that you think you are about to get the wrong medicine.
  • Do not hesitate to tell a health care professional if you think he or she has confused you with another patient.

Pay attention to the care you receive. Make sure that you are receiving the right medication or treatment from the right health care professional. Do not assume anything.

  • If something does not seem right, tell your nurse or doctor.
  • Expect health care workers at IMH to introduce themselves. If you do not know who the person is, ask. For example, a new mother should know who she hands her baby to.
  • Notice if your caregivers have washed their hands or used the alcohol rub. Hand hygiene is the most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. It is OK to ask if your caregiver has washed their hands.
  • Know the time of day you normally receive medication. It is OK to tell your nurse or doctor that your medicine was missed.
  • Make sure your nurse or doctor verifies your identity by checking your wristband or asking your name before giving a medication or treatment. Educate yourself about your illness, medical tests and your treatment plan.

  • It is OK to ask your physician about their training and experience that qualifies them to treat your illness.
  • Research your condition by talking to your doctor, going to the library, visiting respected websites and attending support groups.
  • Write down important facts the doctor tells you. Also ask for available written information that you can keep.
  • Thoroughly read all medical forms and understand them before you sign. If you do not understand, ask a nurse or doctor to explain.
  • Make sure you are familiar with any equipment used in your care. For example, if you use oxygen at home, do not smoke or let anyone smoke near you. Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.

  • Your advocate can ask questions that you don't think of.
  • Ask your advocate to stay the night with you when hospitalized. You will be able to rest better and your advocate can make sure you receive the right medications and treatments.
  • Your advocate can remember answers to questions you have already asked. They can also speak up for you if you cannot speak up for yourself.
  • Make sure your advocate understands the kind of care you want as well as your wishes regarding life-support efforts.
  • Review consents for treatment with your advocate before you sign them. Make sure you both understand exactly what you are consenting to.
  • Make sure your advocate understands the type of care you will receive at home. Your advocate should know what to look for if your condition gets worse and who to call.

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

  • Ask for the following:


  • The purpose of this medication
  • Written information about the medication
  • Brand name and generic name of the medication
  • A list of possible side effects


  • If you do not recognize a medication, verify that it is for you. Ask about oral medications before swallowing and read the contents of bags of IV fluids. Your advocate can do this if you do not feel well enough.
  • If you are given an IV fluid, ask the nurse how long it should take for the liquid to run out. Tell your nurse if it doesn't seem to be dripping right.
  • When getting a new medication, let your nurse or doctor know about your allergies or of any negative reactions to other medicines.
  • If you take multiple medications (or herbals, vitamins, or over -the-counter drugs), ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to take the medications together.
  • Make sure you can read the handwriting on prescriptions from your doctor. If you are not able to read it, your pharmacist may not be able to either.
  • Carry a current medication list in your wallet or purse. It should list medicines, dosage and times, all of which you can share with your doctor.

Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center or other type of health care organization that has undergone a rigorous on-site evaluation against established, state-of-the-art quality and safety standards, such as that provided by Joint Commission.

  • Ask about Ivinson Memorial Hospital's experience in taking care of people with your type of illness. How often do we perform the procedure you need and do we provide the specialized care to help you get well?
  • Before you leave IMH, ask about follow-up care and make sure you understand all of the instructions. Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

  • You and your doctor should agree exactly on what will be done during each step of your care.
  • Know who will be taking care of you, how long the treatment will last and how you should feel.
  • More tests or medications may not always be better. Ask your doctor how a new test or medication will help.
  • Keep copies of your medical records from previous hospitalizations and share them with your health care team.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion. If you are unsure about the best treatment for you, talk with one or more additional doctors. The more information you have, the more confidence you will have in the decisions made.
  • Ask to speak with others who have had the same treatment or operation as you may have. They can prepare you the weeks ahead and explain what to expect and what worked best for them.
  • Talk with your doctor and your family about your wishes regarding resuscitation and other life-saving actions.

Fall Prevention Program

Ivinson Memorial Hospital is focused on preventing falls, which are the leading cause of injury, hospitalization, and death in older adults. Approximately 20-30% of falls result in moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures or head trauma, which can lead to decreased mobility, loss of independence, and an increased risk of premature death.

Because the risk of falling increases dramatically during hospitalization, we will conduct a fall risk assessment when you are admitted. To help us keep you safe, please tell your nurse if you have any of the following conditions that may increase your risk of falling:

  • A recent history of falls
  • Dizziness
  • Diminished vision
  • Problems with walking and balance
  • Lower body weakness or numbness
  • Urinary frequency and urgency
  • A history of heart arrhythmias
  • A history of stroke or seizure

Please be aware of the following factors that may also increase your risk of falling:

  • Anesthesia
  • Pain medication
  • Cardiac and antihypertensive medications
  • Taking multiple medications (4 or more)
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Decreased fluid intake/dehydration
  • Infection
  • Attachment to medical equipment such as IV's, oxygen tubing
  • Poorly fitting or improper footwear
  • An unfamiliar environment
  • Belief that asking for help is inappropriate

During your stay, hospital staff may take extra precautions to keep you safe, such as implementing a stop-light signal outside your door or utilizing bed alarms or other special safety devices. We ask that you help us ensure your safety and prevent falls by:

  • Having your call bell within reach
  • Calling for assistance before getting out of bed
  • Getting up slowly - sit on the side of the bed before rising
  • Sitting down immediately if you are dizzy and asking for assistance
  • Using handrails in the bathroom and hallways
  • Wearing well fitted, non-slip proof footwear
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Talking with your doctors and nurses about your medications and their side effects

Please remember, your safety is extremely important to us. Please alert staff about any safety concerns you may have, and feel free to ask questions or request assistance if needed.

Fall Rate

At Ivinson, we measure the fall rate as the number of falls per 1000 patient days. A patient day is the number of in-patients that are present at midnight. For example, if there is 20 patient days, then 20 in-patients are in the hospital at midnight. It could also possibly mean there are 10 in-patients that have been here for 2 consecutive midnights.

For the period Period of July 2013 - March 2014, the fall rate at Ivinson is 2.86. Our present goal is to have a fall rate under 4.2. Work is under way at IMH to reduce our fall rate.

Surgical Infection Prevention

Surgeries are performed nearly every day at Ivinson Memorial Hospital. We strive to prevent any infections that can arise from surgery. One way we measure our success is the scoring of CORE MEASURES. Another way we measure success is looking at the infection rates for the four classes of surgery.

IMH Patient Safety Core Measures


Core Measures…what are they, and why do they matter?

What…core measures are scientifically-researched standards of care, or proven therapies that are used to treat our patients. These therapies are shown to:
• Improve patient outcome or results
• Reduce the risk of complications
• Prevent recurrences
• Result in consistent provision of optimal & quality care for our patients.
Why…core measures are a nationally standardized performance measurement system. Data is submitted by IMH to the Joint Commission (the nation's predominant standards-setting & accrediting body in healthcare) and CMS (Centers for Medicare/Medicaid). This data is then posted publicly on the hospital compare website, along with data from every participating hospital in the United States (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov). This process allows for comparison between any of the participating hospitals.

**(The recommended treatments are based on scientific evidence & research, and are constantly being evaluated to make sure the treatments are being kept up to date. Guidelines & measures can be revised to reflect new scientific evidence. Over time, the types of conditions and measures that hospitals report will be increased.)**
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