Patient Safety Tips at UnityPoint Health - Meriter

ER - Madison

12 min Average
UnityPoint Health - Madison

Patient Safety Tips

The most important thing you can do is be an active partner in your own care. If you have any questions about your care or treatment or don't understand something, please ask your doctor or nurse.

Openly share your health history with your caregiver.

  • This includes your medications. Bring a list of all the drugs your doctor prescribed. Also bring a list of any over-the-counter items you use. 
  • Tell about any allergies to drugs, food, latex or other things. 
  • Tell about all your health conditions and any operations you have had. 
  • The more your caregivers know, the more successful your care plan and recovery will be.

Don't understand something about your care?

  • Get all the information you need.
  • Ask what is going on, what you need to do, and why it is important to do that.

Bring along a family member or friend.

  • This person should be able to speak up for you. Have them ask questions, and help you remember information.
  • Tell your doctor it is okay to share information with your friend or family member.

Keep it clean!

  • Ask your doctors and nurses if they have cleaned their hands before they care for you.
  • Wash your own hands after you use the bathroom. Wash or use hand gel before you eat and after sneezing or coughing.

We don't want you to fall.

  • Tell us if you have fallen in the last few months at home or have been unsteady on your feet.
  • You may be asked to call for help to get up in your room or go to the bathroom. Please call!
  • If you feel like you need help, please call!

Don't recognize a medicine?

  • Ask the nurse if you are given a medicine you don't recognize.

Having surgery?

  • We will take extra care to keep you safe if you are having surgery.
  • We will ask you your name and date of birth and check your arm band more than once.
  • Your surgery may involve a right or left sided procedure. Your doctor will mark on your skin where the surgery will be performed.
  • You may receive an antibiotic before your surgery. It will help prevent an infection.
  • You will be told about other actions that may be performed. They keep you safe before, during, and after surgery.

Home Care

  • Make sure you have written instructions when you leave the hospital. 
  • You should know which medicine to take and which ones not to take. 
  • You should know when you can get back to your regular routine and when to see your doctor. 
  • Make sure your partner in care learns what to do, too.

Getting Help

If you or your loved one's condition suddenly changes, it is important to alert the staff. Conditions prompting such concern may include:

  • Change in level of consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Signs of stroke
  • Other symptoms that cause alarm

In such cases, press your call light and say, "I need help now!" The health unit coordinator will summon a nurse to respond quickly and determine if additional assistance is needed.

Smoking and Tobacco Policy

For the comfort, health and safety of the UnityPoint Health – Meriter community, Meriter is a smoke-free and tobacco-free facility. This means that smoking and other tobacco product use is not allowed inside buildings, vehicles and on the hospital grounds. Your cooperation in keeping Meriter Hospital smoke-free and tobacco-free is appreciated.

Smoking is the single largest cause of preventable illness. If you smoke, we strongly urge you to quit. If you are thinking about quitting, please talk with Meriter's nurses and your physician about counseling and medications (nicotine patch, Zyban and Chantix) that could help you while you are a patient and after discharge. You also can get free counseling by calling the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1 (800) QUIT NOW (1 (800) 784-8669).


Meriter strives to be a latex-safe environment, using latex-free alternatives whenever possible for the safety of patients and staff.