Patients & Visitors
Montefiore Medical Center has been innovative in its delivery of healthcare for more than a century. We are regularly recognized for our commitment to quality and safety, exceptional advanced care and leading outcomes. Physicians, nurses and staff are focused on continually improving patient safety and the quality of care.
Our efforts have exceeded national benchmarks and continue to set the standard.
“SPEAK UP” for Safety
Everyone has a role in making healthcare safe. That includes doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Make your care safer by being an active, involved and informed member of your healthcare team.
Research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their own healthcare are more likely to get better faster. To help prevent healthcare mistakes, patients are urged to SPEAK UP:
State questions and concerns
- If you do not understand, ask us to explain it another way
- If you do not understand because you speak another language, ask for someone who speaks your language
- Do not be afraid to SPEAK UP and ask about your safety
Pay attention to the care you are receiving
- Make sure you are getting the right treatments and medications from the right health care providers—do not assume
- SPEAK UP and tell your nurse or doctor if something does not seem right to you
- Expect your healthcare team to introduce themselves and always wear their ID badges
- Make sure your healthcare providers check your wrist band before administering any test or medication.
Educate yourself about your conditions, treatments and any medical tests you will be getting
- Write down information that your doctor tells you, and ask your doctor if he or she has any written information or pamphlets you can keep
- Read all medical forms and make sure you understand them before you sign them—ask your doctor or nurse to explain again in another way or using plain language if you do not understand
- SPEAK UP to make sure all of your questions are answered
Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter)
- Your advocate can ask questions you may not think of when you are stressed or sick
- Ask your advocate to stay with you as much as possible so they can SPEAK UP for you if you cannot
- Make sure your advocate understands the care you want and what is important to you
- Make sure your advocate understands the care you will need when you get home, as well as what to look for if your condition gets worse
Know what medications you take and why you take them
- Ask why you are taking a medicine, its brand and generic names, and for written information
- Ask about the side effects of all medicines
- If you take many medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to take them together (including vitamins, herbs and over-the-counter drugs)
- If you do not recognize a medication, SPEAK UP and make sure it is intended for you
- Carry an up-to-date list of the medicines you are taking and write down how much you take and when you take it, in order to go over the list with your doctor and other caregivers
Participate in all decisions about your treatment—you are the center of your healthcare team
- You and your doctor should agree on exactly what will be done during each step of your care
- Keep copies of your medical records from other hospitalizations and share them with your caregivers, in order to give them better information about your health history
- Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion—your doctors will support your request because the more information you have about all the kinds of treatment available to you, the better you will feel about the decisions made
- Talk to your doctor and your family about your wishes regarding resuscitation and other life-saving actions
Preventing Patient Falls
Montefiore has a program to prevent falls for both inpatient and outpatient settings that include a safe environment, as well as staff and patient education. Here are some things patients can do to prevent falls while in the hospital:
- Keep the things you use often within easy reach
- With the nurse present, practice using the call bell before you really need it and do not be afraid to use it when you do
- Know how to turn the light on and off from your bed
- Do not get up on your own, even to use the bathroom—call someone for assistance
- Sit up slowly and with help
- Do not try to move IV poles or other equipment on your own
- Use your walking aid as instructed by the staff
- Be sure to use handrails in bathrooms and hallways
No Smoking Policy
Montefiore Medical Center is a smoke-free zone. If you are trying to quit smoking, these tips can help.
Learn about our smoking cessation program, and call the New York State Smokers Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (697-8487).
People who are thinking about suicide may not know they are depressed. Certain thoughts, feelings and actions can be signals that let you know you may need help. If you think you may be at risk, talk to your doctor to learn how to watch for warning signals. Call one of these suicide prevention hotlines for immediate help:
- National Hopeline Network: 800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
- The Samaritans of New York: 212-673-3000
Hand Hygiene: The Number One Way to Prevent Infections
Certain germs have become resistant to the medications (antibiotics) commonly used to treat them. Germs that resist treatment with more than one antibiotic are called multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs for short). MDROs are found mainly in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Keeping your hands clean is the best way to prevent getting or spreading germs that cause infection. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
When to Clean Your Hands
To help prevent infection, wash your hands often, especially:
- After using the bathroom
- Before and after eating
- After coughing or sneezing
- After using a tissue
- After touching or changing a dressing or bandage
- After touching any object or surface that may be contaminated
Tips for Good Handwashing
- Use warm water and work up a good lather with plenty of soap
- Clean your whole hand, under your nails, between your fingers and up the wrists
- Scrub well for at least 20 seconds
- Rinse, letting the water run down your fingers, not up your wrists
- Dry your hands well and use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door
If you do not have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand gel containing at least 60 percent alcohol. These products kill most germs and are easy to use. Use soap and water?not hand gel?if your hands are visibly dirty, and after using the bathroom.
To help prevent the spread of infection, healthcare workers wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner before and after treating each patient.
Tips to Stay Healthy
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Using tobacco products or smoking causes harm to nearly every organ in your body, and second-hand smoke is harmful to the people you love.
Control Your Weight
Keeping your weight in control will help prevent many health problems. If you are gaining or losing weight without trying to, you should let your doctor know. Your caregivers can help by giving you information on how to control your weight and answer your questions. Just ask!
Get Routine Vaccinations
Just like children, adults need vaccinations too! For those who get sick easily, especially seniors, getting influenza and pneumococcal vaccines regularly will help protect you from certain types of flu and pneumonia. Just ask your healthcare provider whether a vaccination is right for you!
Keep Your Medical Appointments
Your healthcare providers cannot help you if they don’t hear from you or if they do not see you. Stay in touch by keeping your appointments, or rescheduling if you miss them. Your Montefiore caregivers are happy to care for you while you are in the hospital but would rather help you stay out. Be sure to keep your appointments.
If you have any questions or concerns about patient safety please feel free to contact us:
Jason Adelman, MD, MS,
Patient Safety Officer