In the spring of 2008 the Norwegian Unit for Patient Safety produced a leaflet for patients going to hospital. The leaflet contains simple advices on what patients themselves can contribute with in order to enhance their own safety during hospitalization. The brochure is now available in Norwegian and Sami (the language of the indigenous people of northern Norway), in addition to eight of the major minority languages in Norway: Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, Somali, Polish, English, French and Spanish.
- Tell us about yourself : Do you need an interpreter? Do you take any medication? What kind of treatment are you having? Is there anything else you do to improve your health?
- Ask us until you are sure that you understand. Don’t be afraid to ask more than once. Write down the information you get, and any questions you want to ask us.
- Check the name. Make sure that letters and wristbands carry your own name. Make sure that your identity is checked every time a test is taken or you are examined.
- Ask questions about quality. Who is responsible for you? What experience do they have with your type of illness? Ask who is going to perform surgery on you and write down the name.
- Check the medication. Is this your medication? Why do you have to take it? How does it work? Have you been given the right dose?
- Family and friend can help you. They can speak up for you when you feel too weak to do so yourself. Your family and friends can be given information and accompany you if you want them to.
- Learn about your illness. Learn about your diagnosis. Ask about examinations, tests and treatments. If you are to have surgery, ask the doctor to sketch out incision lines on you with a marker pen.
- Let us know if you are in pain or uncomfortable. If necessary, remind us. You can have the nurse or doctor record your symptoms in your medical records.
- What happens after you are discharged from the hospital? What aches and pains should you expect? Should you do anything about your diet? How much can you exert yourself?
- In the event of a medical emergency: Who should you contact: your GP, the casualty clinic or the hospital? What do they need to know when you contact them?