Top Tips For Safe Health Care - Safety And Quality

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Top Tips forSafe Health CarePublished by the Australian Commissionon Safety and Quality in Health CarePostal Address: GPO Box 5480, Sydney NSW 2001Phone: (02) 9126 3600 International 61 2 9126 3600Email: you need to knowfor yourself, your familyor someone you care

About this bookletThis booklet is designed to helpconsumers, their families, carersand other support people get themost out of their health care.Being actively involved, andworking in partnership withhealthcare providers, can helpensure you get the care that is rightfor you.Published by the Australian Commissionon Safety and Quality in Health CareYou can use the information inthis booklet when you talk to yourdoctor and healthcare providers,including nurses, pharmacists,specialists, allied health and mentalhealth workers.This booklet has been producedby the Australian Commission onSafety and Quality in Health Care,an Australian government agencythat leads and coordinates nationalimprovements in the safety andquality of health care.Level 5, 255 Elizabeth Street,Sydney NSW 2001Email: ISBN: 978-1-925948-73-8Online ISBN: 978-1-925948-72-1 Commonwealth of Australia 2020All material and work produced bythe Australian Commission on Safetyand Quality in Health Care is protectedby Commonwealth copyright. It maybe reproduced in whole or in part forstudy or training purposes,subject to the inclusion of anacknowledgement of the source.Australian Commission on Safetyand Quality in Health Care (2020)Top tips for safe health care; ACSQHC.Enquiries regarding the use of thispublication are welcome and can be sent providers value your feedback. It helps the organisationunderstand what they are doing well, and what might need improvement.You can share your feedback withstaff in person, write your feedbackdown or complete a feedback form.If you have a complaint about yourcare, try to resolve it directly withthe hospital or healthcare provider.Many hospitals have a patientadvocate or liaison officer whom youcan talk to about your concerns.If the healthcare provider doesnot respond, or you are nothappy with the response youreceive, you may wish to contactyour state’s health complaintsauthority. These are listed below:Phone: (02) 9126 3600Fax: (02) 9126 3613The Commission’s preference is that youattribute this publication (and any materialsourced from it) using the following citation:9Your feedback helps improvehealthcare safety and qualityAcknowledgementsMany individuals and organisations have freelygiven their time, expertise and documentationto support the development of this resource.In particular the Commission wishes to thankthe consumers involved in the consultationprocess. The involvement and willingnessof all concerned to share their experienceand expertise is greatly appreciated.QLD Office of theHealth OmbudsmanWeb: 133 646SA Health and Community ServicesComplaints CommissionerWeb: 1800 232 007TAS Health ComplaintsCommissionerWeb: 1800 001 170ACT Human Rights CommissionWeb: 02 6205 2222VIC Health ComplaintsCommissionerWeb: 1300 582 113NSW Health CareComplaints CommissionWeb: 1800 043 159WA Health and DisabilityServices Complaints OfficeWeb: 1800 813 583NT Health and CommunityServices Complaints CommissionWeb: 1800 004 474Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care9

8Understand privacy andaccessing your medical recordConsumer organisationsYour doctor and other healthcare providers keep arecord of your health and medical history.They are required by law (the PrivacyAct 1988) to keep your medicalrecord confidential and private.Occasionally, relevant parts ofyour medical record will need tobe shared between healthcareproviders as part of your care.If you would like access to yourmedical record, you can ask to seeit. If you have registered for theelectronic My Health Record, you canaccess this yourself on the internet.If you notice somethingmissing from yourmedical record or yourMy Health Record, askyour healthcare providerto have it corrected. How to get further informationTo register for an electronic healthrecord visit: and for guidance on howto access and correct your medicalrecord visit: following consumerorganisations can provide adviceabout finding support networksand healthcare services:Government websiteswith health informationBetter Health ChannelWeb: HealthForum of AustraliaWeb: 02 6273 5444Healthdirect24 Hour Health AdviceWeb: 1800 022 222Health Care Consumers’Association of the ACTWeb: 02 6230 7800Pregnancy, birth and babysupport and informationWeb: 1800 882 436Health Consumers NSWWeb: 02 9986 1082Head to HealthWeb: Consumers QLDWeb: 07 3012 9090Health Consumers Alliance of SAWeb: www.hcasa.asn.auPhone: 08 8231 4169Health Issues Centre VICWeb: 03 9664 9343My Aged CareWeb: 1800 200 422Poisons Information CentreWeb: 13 11 26Emergency assistanceWeb: 000Health Consumers’ Council WAWeb: 1800 620 7808Top Tips for Safe Health CareAustralian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care1

17Ask questionsYou have a right to ask questions about your health andhealth care. Don’t feel shy about asking questions if youare unsure about the information you are given.In fact, asking questions will help yourdoctor and other healthcare providersunderstand what worries you aboutyour health and what is important toyou when deciding your treatment.If you are not confident to askquestions, bring a family member,friend or representative to help you.You can also ask for an interpreterfrom the Translating and InterpretingService, which is a nationalservice provided by the AustralianGovernment (Phone: 131 450).Writing your questions downbefore your appointment canhelp you feel prepared to get theanswers you need. A QuestionBuilder tool is available to helpyou prepare questions to bring toyour appointment. This tool can befound here: Tips for Safe Health Care? Questions you can ask: an you please explain thatCto me again? o I need tests or treatmentDand what are my treatmentoptions?What can I do to helpmyself?Everyone who is seeking or receiving care in the Australianhealth system has certain rights regarding their care.You have a right to: access health care receive safe and high-quality care be shown respect here can I get moreWinformation and support? o I need to make anotherDappointment and should Ibring someone with me?Know your rights e informed about services,btreatment, options and costs in aclear and open wayYou can read more about yourrights in the Australian Charterof Healthcare Rights, which wasdeveloped by the Commission,by visiting: included in decisions andchoices about your careprivacy and confidentialityregarding the information youprovidecomment on care and have yourconcerns addressed.Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care7

6Ask about your carewhen you leave hospitalAsk to have your family, carer and/or representative involvedin discussions about your discharge from hospital.Good-quality and reliable health information can help youmake informed decisions about your health care.Ask for a written discharge planor care plan that summarises whyyou came into hospital, the careyou received, the plan of actionwhen you leave the hospital andlists any follow-up appointments.The best way to get healthinformation is to ask your doctoror other healthcare provider.? 62Find good-quality andreliable health informationTop Tips for Safe Health CareQuestions you can ask: an you explain to me whatCI need to do to manage mycare at home? ill I need someone to careWfor me after the operation? ow can I find someone toHassist me? hat should I do if myWsymptoms get worse?If you seek advice from acomplementary therapist (e.g. anaturopath, osteopath or traditionalChinese medicine practitioner),it is very important to let yourregular healthcare provider knowabout any treatments or advice youreceive from the complementarytherapist. This can help to reducethe risk of something going wrong.The information you find online is notalways reliable. However, governmentendorsed health websites such asHealthdirect Australia, the BetterHealth Channel, industry bodiessuch as the Australian MedicalAssociation, and organisations likebeyondblue and Cancer CouncilAustralia have reliable information. ho can I contact if I needWto speak with someone? ill I be given a writtenWdischarge plan or care plan? ill you send the dischargeWplan or care plan to my GP?Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care3

3Understand the risks andbenefits of medical tests,treatments and proceduresBefore making a decision about your health care, it is importantthat you fully understand the risks and benefits of any medicaltest, treatment and procedure recommended by your doctor.Asking your doctor or otherhealthcare provider questionsabout your testing and treatmentoptions will help you makebetter decisions together.Make sure you get the results ofyour test. Do not assume no newsis good news.? Choosing Wisely Australia providesa useful resource for people wishingto find out more information abouttheir treatment options. Their websitelists recommendations for specifictests, treatments and procedures thatmay be unnecessary and sometimesharmful for consumers. The ChoosingWisely website can be found 4Top Tips for Safe Health CareQuestions you can ask: o I need any tests orDtreatment? ow might this test affectHor change my care? hat are the potential risksWof the test/treatment? re there any other optionsAavailable? hat could happen if weWwait and watch? hat do I and/or my familyWneed to know about thistreatment/procedure(possible complications,time in hospital, time offwork)? ow do I find out if thereHare any costs? ow can I get a secondHopinion?4Keep a list of all themedicines you are takingYou can use the list to let your doctor and pharmacist know the medicinesyou are taking. Include vitamins and any other supplements on your list.It is important you understand howto take your medication, especiallyif you use more than one medicine.If you have any questions about thedirections on your medicine labelsyou can always ask your pharmacist.If you take multiple medications, andneed help with knowing how andwhen to take these medicines, youcan ask your doctor for a referral5for a Home Medicines Review. Thiswill involve a pharmacist visiting youat home and talking to you aboutthe medicines you are taking.A lot of helpful information aboutmedicines is provided byNPS MedicineWise. The NPSMedicineWise website can be foundhere: onfirm what will happen beforeCyour operation or other procedureAsk which doctor or other healthcare provider will be in charge of yourprocedure and check with them what operation they plan to perform.If at any time you don’t understandwhat is being said to you, ask forthe information to be repeated orexplained in another way. You shouldbe asked several questions to confirmthe procedure you are having andthe site of the procedure should bemarked on your body with a pen.Tell the doctor or other healthcareprovider about any allergies andreactions to medicines you know ofand ask them to note this inyour medical record.Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care5

Consumers Health Forum of Australia Web: Phone: 02 6273 5444 Health Care Consumers' Association of the ACT Web: Phone: 02 6230 7800 Health Consumers NSW Web: Phone: 02 9986 1082 Health Consumers QLD Web: Phone: 07 3012 9090 Health Consumers Alliance of SA Web:

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