United in Safety

United in Safety graphicAt Duke Regional Hospital, safety is always our priority. Every day members of your care team—from nurses and physicians to environmental and foodservice staff—work together to provide a safe environment for healing.

We need your help, too. Our patients and their loved ones play important roles in preventing harm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list 10 ways to be a safe patient including

  • Speak up. Talk with your care givers if you have questions about your care, such as what medications you need to take and how often.
  • Wash your hands often. Hand hygiene can prevent the spread of germs and illness. If you do not see members of your care team wash their hands, ask them to do so.
  • Be careful with medications. Follow the directions provided by your care givers. To avoid harmful drug interactions, tell your physician about all the medicines you take.
  • Make sure your immunizations and vaccinations are up to date.

Do you know what kind of patient you are? Take the Smart Patient Quiz to find out and learn ways you can be a smarter, safer patient.

Remember: You are an important member of your care team, and you have an critical role in preventing harm. Today—and every day—we are “united in safety.”

Halloween Safety Tips

Trick-or-treaters on HalloweenHalloween can be a fun time for kids to dress up as their favorite character, eat candy and stay up past their regular bed time. Make sure your trick-or-treaters follow these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay safe.

  • Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
  • Do not trick-or-treat alone. Walk in groups with a trusted adult.
  • Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
  • Walk on sidewalks, if possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
  • Only visit well-lit houses.
  • Examine all treats for tampering before eating them.
  • Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers. Eat only factory-wrapped treats.

For more tips on how to stay safe while trick-or-treating, visit cdc.gov/family/halloween.

Know Your Medications

Assortment of pills and supplementsYou play an important role in helping reduce medication errors. Be sure you understand exactly what you are taking and why. Use this checklist to help you get the information you need from your physician:

  • What is the name of the medicine? What is its generic name?
  • Why am I taking this medicine?
  • What dose will I be taking? How often, and for how long?
  • When will the medicine begin to work?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • Can I take this medicine while taking my other medications or dietary supplements?
  • Are there any foods, drinks or activities I should avoid while taking this medicine?
  • Should I take my medicine at meals or between meals?
  • Do I need to take the medicine on an empty stomach or with food or a whole glass of water?
  • What should I do if I forget to take the medicine and miss a dose?

Preventing Medication Errors
Be sure all your physicians know what medications you have been taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbal and vitamin supplements, natural remedies and recreational drugs.

Be sure all your physicians know of any allergies you may have—to medications, anesthesia, foods, latex products, etc.

Summer Water Safety

Dad applying sunscreenStay safe this summer at the beach or the pool by following these tips from WebMd.com:

  • Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen over your whole body 30 minutes before going outside. The higher the SPF, the better it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every two hours.
  • The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., even if it’s cloudy. Seek protection with beach umbrellas, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Each adult needs almost a gallon of water or other fluids per day to stay fully hydrated if you’re physically active or exposed to hot conditions.
  • Drinking alcohol can impair your judgment and speeds up the dehydration process. The sweating, vomiting and diarrhea that can go hand-in-hand with too much drinking can result in even further dehydration.
  • A small first aid kit can help prevent minor mishaps from spoiling your day. Make sure your kit includes aloe gel for sunburn relief, triple-antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, waterproof bandages, hydrocortisone cream for insect bites, hand sanitizer, insect repellent and a cold pack for swelling.
  • Some beaches, lakes or rivers allow or rent kayaks, canoes or motorized watercraft. Make sure all boat passengers wear appropriately fitting life jackets.
  • Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including lake shores. Be aware of the daily water conditions and the location of the closest lifeguard. If you get caught in a rip current, don’t fight it. Remain calm. Swim or float parallel to shore. Once out of the current, swim toward shore.

To learn more water safety tips, click here.

Fireworks Safety

fireworks at homeHappy Independence Day! If you plan on using fireworks during your celebration today, please follow these important tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Use fireworks as directed; never alter products.
  • A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities.
  • Children should not handle or use fireworks.
  • Do not consume alcohol while shooting fireworks.
  • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Always have water ready if you are shooting fireworks.
  • Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor trash can.

For additional tips, click here.

Preparing for a Hurricane


For the East Coast, hurricane season lasts from June to November. Be sure you and your family are prepared for the 2104 hurricane season by following these tips:

  • Build an emergency kit that includes enough food and water to last for at least 72 hours. In addition your kit should also include a battery-powered radio, flashlight with extra batteries and a first aid kit.
  • Identify a contact such as a friend or relative who lives out-of-state for household members to notify they are safe.
  • Learn hurricane evacuation routes for your area. Figure out how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit ready.gov/hurricanes.