During Canadian Patient Safety Week (October 30 to November 3), patients and health care providers are encouraged to engage in conversations using the 5 Questions to Ask About Your Medications [PDF | 1.26 MB].
As a patient or family member, it is important that you understand the health care and treatment you receive. Remember to ask questions, listen to the answers, and talk about any concerns you may have. By being involved in your care, health care providers are able to provide the best and safest care possible.
Ask questions about your care
Your health care team wants the best possible outcome for you. Ask questions until you have all the information you need. You can bring a family member or friend to listen with you when information is explained. If you think of a question at home, write it down, and ask the question at your next visit.
Listen to the answers
It is important to listen to everything your health care provider tells you. If you do not understand or if you miss anything, ask for it to be repeated or explained. It is okay to ask further questions. It may be helpful to bring a relative or friend with you who can listen and write down important information you receive.
Talk openly about concerns
If you have any concerns, talk with your doctor or health care provider. Let them know about your medical history and any conditions you may have, such as diabetes or heart disease. Talk about your medications, why you’re taking them, and how they will help you. Ask further questions, if you need to. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t just think it, say it.
You might ask...
- Can you explain that to me again?
- Can you tell me more about my medical problem?
- Do you have any information I can take home with me?
- What are my treatment options? How quickly do I need to have this treatment?
- What does the test or treatment involve? What type of symptoms should I expect?
- What are the risks? How will this treatment help me?
- Are there side effects to the medication? How will it help me? How often do I need to take it?
- Who will be following up on my care? When do I come back to see you?
What else can I do to make sure I receive safe health care?
You are the most important member of your health care team, and by participating in your care, you will have a better understanding of your health and/or treatment plan.
- Be involved in your health care. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your health care provider. Keep track of your health by writing down any symptoms you’ve been experiencing, concerns, or questions you may have.
- Share information about your medical history, including:
- how you are feeling;
- any medical conditions you have;
- illnesses that run in your family;
- surgeries you have had;
- addiction or mental illness you may have;
- medications you are taking; or
- if you’ve ever had an allergic or bad reaction to any medication or food.
- Bring all of your medications (prescription and non-prescription) with you when you go to a health care facility or to a medical appointment. Keep track of your medications by completing a Medication List.
- Protect yourself from getting an infection. Washing your hands is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands often using soap and water or hand sanitizer.
- Protect yourself from falling. Your medical condition, treatment or medication can make falling more likely to happen. Let your health care provider know if you need assistance walking or if you need a wheelchair. Keep everything you need within your reach and wear proper shoes.
- Make sure you are the right patient. Ensure your health care providers caring for you check your identify before providing treatment or giving you medication. This will help reduce the risk of giving you the wrong treatment or medication.
- Have a plan. Before you go home from a health care facility or a medical appointment, make sure you have all the information you need and you know the treatment plan you will use at home. Know what medications you will need to take, how much and how often, and if there are any side effects.
What is Health PEI doing to improve patient safety?
Each day, health care providers strive to provide you and your family with safe, quality health services. However, the results of care provided sometimes may not be as expected. By working with partners to improve patient safety and by openly discussing safety issues and learning from our experiences, Health PEI is striving to be as close to error-free as possible. Through working together and sharing information, we are building a safer health system for now and in the future. Learn more about Patient Safety Incidents.
How can I contact the Patient Safety Coordinator?
Patient Safety Coordinator
16 Garfield Street
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Telephone: (902) 620-3349
Fax: (902) 368-4969