Partnering for Safety

What You Can Do


Thank you for choosing Cottage Health System. Our number one goal is to provide you with a safe and high-quality care experience. Our physicians and staff are dedicated to meeting your needs. You can help assure your safety by partnering with your care team in the ways outlined in this brochure.


Hand Hygiene

Did you know that not washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to spread an infection? Our staff members will wash their hands (or use a hand sanitizer) each time before they care for you. Don't be afraid to ask your caregivers if they have washed their hands. Ask your family and visitors to wash their hands as well.


Respiratory Hygiene

If you've sought care because of a respiratory (breathing) problem, there are some simple steps you can take to keep you and others safe:

  • Let your caregiver know if you are coughing up any sputum.
  • Cough or sneeze into tissue or into your elbow rather than directly into the air or your hands.
  • If you are asked to wear a protective mask, please do so.
  • Depending on your illness, staff  and visitors may need to wear a mask as well.


Contact Precautions

Depending on your illness, we may need to protect ourselves and others by not directly touching surfaces or articles that you have touched. This is known as "contact precautions." Staff and visitors may be required to wear protective gowns and gloves. If you are placed on contact precautions, your caregiver will review the specific requirements with you.


Going to Surgery?

If you are here for a surgical or invasive procedure, there are several activities that we undertake to help keep you safe:

  • Your physician and care team will confirm your identity, and the nature and side or site of your surgery/procedure with you. If you believe any of this information is incorrect, notify staff immediately.
  • The site or side of your surgery may be marked prior to the surgery being performed. This is to assure that the surgery is performed on the correct part of your body. You will be asked to confirm that the correct side or site is being marked.
  • You may be given antibiotics before and after your surgery to help prevent infection. Let your doctor know if you have any allergies to medications. The site of your surgery may also be cleansed with a disinfectant.


Preparing for Discharge

Be sure that you understand your discharge instructions and medication list. Ask for help if you do not. If you are not confident that you can care for yourself after leaving the hospital, a social worker can be asked to see you to assist with your discharge planning needs.


Other Ways to Keep You Safe

Your care team works to provide you with safe care in many ways. Here are some ways in which you can help:

  • Staff will use two methods of identifying you (perhaps your name and birth date or name and medical record number) when performing tests, administering medications, obtaining specimens, etc. This is done for your protection.
  • Please let your physician and staff know of any medications you are taking, any allergies, and any difficulties you have had in taking medication in the past.
  • You may receive a flu or pneumonia vaccine.
  • Ask for your call bell to be within reach at all times.
  • Ask the nurse to check your IV if you feel any pain or swelling.
  • If you feel unsteady on your feet or need assistance walking, please let your caregiver know. You may be placed on precautions to prevent falling.
  • Please ask questions about the care you are receiving. You have the right to receive the information you need to make an informed care decision. If you do not understand what is being explained or want further information, do not hesitate to say so.


Changes in Condition

Patients and their families are asked to seek help from the nurse or charge nurse right away if they notice a change in the patient's condition.


Reporting a Safety Concern

If at any time you feel that there is an unsafe situation, or you feel that your care is not as safe as it could be, please alert your nurse or your doctor right away.


We would like for our patients and their families to tell us about any concerns about the care we are providing.


If you believe that your caregiver has been unable to address your safety concern to your satisfaction, please ask to speak with the manager or director of the unit or care area. He or she will work with you to promptly address your concerns.

If you still feel that your concern has not been resolved to your satisfaction, please ask to speak with a patient representative who can assist you in reporting your concern to the appropriate agency outside of the hospital.