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  • Participating in Your Health Care

Published on June 26, 2013

Participating in Your Health Care

by Carla Hummel, Director of Volunteer Services
Avera Sacred Heart Hospital

Did you know that research has shown that patients who participate in their health care not only have improved outcomes but they heal quicker?
One of the most important things you can do as a patient is pay attention to the care you receive.  When a health care provider comes into your room, make sure they clean their hands. If you have not observed this, it is okay to ask them to clean their hands.

Health care providers should always identify themselves. Every time a health care provider gives you a medication or performs a treatment, it is important they make sure they are caring for the right patient by checking your identification wrist band. They should always tell you what medication they are giving you and possible side effects.  If they did not, stop and ask them to.  It is your right to know.

Every patient has a plan of care. A plan of care is the activities and treatments that are needed so you can safely return home to continue your recovery. You are the most important person in the plan of care and your participation helps assure the plan is carried out in a manner that will keep you safe while in the hospital and when you return home.  If you do not know your plan of care, ask your health care providers to explain your plan of care to you. It is a good idea to take notes about your care and ask questions.  If you are unable to do this, ask a healthcare provider, friend or family member to help you.

Safety is an important part of a quick recovery. While in the hospital, there are many things you can do to help keep you safe.

  • Ask us for help
  • Use your call button if you are feeling unsteady
  • Wear non-slip socks or footwear
  • Lower the height of the bed or rail
  • Talk to your health care provider about any side effects of medicines you are taking

Our nurses will be checking on you frequently to make sure you are “Always” getting great care.  Volunteers called “Patient Liaisons” will also visit you and discuss your rights and responsibilities. They also will be asking you about the care you are receiving.  Please let them know if there is anything we can do to make your stay better.
Perhaps you or someone you know would like to be a Patient Liaison Volunteer. Anyone interested in becoming a Patient Liaison Volunteer, please contact Carla Hummel, Director of Volunteer Services, 605-668-8104 or

To learn more about being a part of you care during your hospital stay, you can view “Always Caring for you @ Avera”, playing on a hospital channel 13 for the TV’s within the hospital starting July 15, 2013.