Patient Safety and Quality of Care

We are committed to providing EXCELLENT healthcare in the safest possible environment. Each Owensboro Health team member is contributing to safe care in some way, whether it’s through error prevention, a clean environment or good communication.

Patients participation is a key component to safety and it's important for you and your loved ones to take an active part in your care. You're encouraged to ask questions and speak up if something isn't right. See information below about how we can all participate in safe care.

Patient identification

  • To keep you safe, we need to know who you are. This helps us ensure safety and avoid confusion, such as with patients with similar names or similar room numbers. You can help us by checking the ID wrist band you are given during admission. Is your name and date of birth correct? If not, tell someone immediately so that it can be corrected. Your wrist band also has a unique number that can be used to identify you if blood transfusions are given. Before you have tests done, receive medical treatments or go to surgery, we will be using your ID band to identify you so no mistakes are made.
  • We will ask you (or your family or designated decision-maker) for your full name and your date of birth to double-check your identity using your ID band.

Medication safety

  • Some medications look different depending on the manufacturer or the medication dosage. If you are given a pill that looks different, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask about it! Ask your nurse or doctor what the pill is and why you are taking it. Pay attention to every pill you take.
  • Make sure all of your doctors know all the medications you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs. This helps avoid drug interactions, adverse side effects and ensures your medications work correctly.
  • Bar code medication dispensing is used. Owensboro Health Regional Hospital ensures your safety by following strict medication dispensing guidelines.
  • Each medication your nurse gives you will be individually labeled so you can identify the medication you are given.
  • Make sure your nurse asks for your name and date of birth each time they administer your medications.
  • To ensure you do not have reactions to any medications, make sure your doctor, nurse and pharmacist know about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medications. Ask for information about your medication in terms you can understand both when your medicines are prescribed and when you receive them.
  • Upon discharge, you will be given a list of medications you will continue at home. Give a copy to your doctor at your next appointment. You will also need to give a copy to your pharmacist when you have your prescriptions filled. Our pharmacy can also fill your first month’s prescription, which you can receive and pay for in your room before you are discharged. We will also send the prescriptions to a pharmacy of your choosing, so that you may continue filling them after the first month.
  • Discard all old medication lists and update your records with any changes. Tell your physician and pharmacist if there are changes in the medications you take.

Preventing the spread of infection

It is okay for you and your family to ask your healthcare provider if they have washed their hands before they touch you.

To prevent germs from spreading, our health care workers may do one or more of the following:

  • Wear a mask, gloves, gown, or other personal protective equipment (some infections require the use of a respirator or air filter)
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer, before and after patient contact
  • Patients are bathed daily with chlorhexidine gluconate (Hibiclens)

Hibiclens is both a soap and an antiseptic that kills germs on contact and can continue killing germs for up to 24 hours. It has a cumulative effect, so the protection against germs increases with repeated use. Bathing with Hibiclens every day is important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that on a typical day, about one out of every 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection. Bacteria, viruses and fungi can live on your skin or on surfaces in your environment. Studies show that your chance of getting an infection is reduced when the number of germs on your skin is lower. Hibiclens delivers immediate and long-lasting protection against many of the germs that can cause these infections. Reducing the chance of getting an infection is important because infections lead to serious illnesses, longer hospital stays and increased costs.

You can use Hibiclens after you leave the hospital. It can be found at major retailers and drugstores. If you are unsure how to bathe or shower with Hibiclens, a staff member can assist and teach you.

The best way to prevent getting or spreading germs that cause infection is by keeping your hands clean. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (the FDA recommends a sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol concentration) after using the bathroom, before and after eating and after coughing or sneezing. Always remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow, as this limits the possible spread of illness.

It’s also important to wash your hands before and after touching or changing a dressing or bandage, and after touching any object or surface that may be contaminated. Discourage family and others from visiting if they are sick (cold, fever, vomiting, diarrhea or they believe they have some type of infection). Remind and encourage family and others to follow any instructions that may be posted on the door of your room. This may include wearing a gown, mask and/or gloves. Remind your family, visitors and healthcare workers to wash their hands if they forget.

Tips for good handwashing

  • Use warm water and plenty of soap - work up a good lather, as friction and soap help dislodge germs from skin
  • Clean the whole hand, especially under your nails and between your fingers
  • Wash for at least 15 seconds, long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice.
  • Rinse, letting the water run down your fingers, not up your wrists
  • Dry your hands well
  • Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door

How to use hand sanitizers

Hand sanitizers are easy to use and kill most germs, but should not be used as a substitute for washing visibly soiled hands. When using sanitizers, rub your hands together briskly, cleaning the backs of your hands, the palms, between your fingers and up the wrists. Rub until the cleaner is gone and your hands are completely dry.

Keep your body clean

It’s important to keep your body clean by taking a shower or bath daily. Shampoo your hair every time you bathe. Clean your genitals, armpits and skin folds every day.

Care for your mouth

Brush your teeth after each meal by using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Brush the front, back and top of each tooth. Floss at least once a day.

Care for your nails

If you have diabetes or poor circulation (vascular disease), check with your doctor about proper nail care. Keep your nails trimmed, filed and clean underneath them daily. Cut toenails straight across. Trim them to just about the tip of the toe, but don’t cut the corners. If you are unable to care for your own nails, ask others for help.

Other hygiene hints

  • See your doctor if you have any medical problems with your scalp, mouth, skin, hands or feet.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry. Wear clean socks as often as possible.
  • Use moisturizing lotion to keep your skin soft and prevent cracking and peeling, as this guards against infection.
  • Women should always wipe from front to back when using the toilet.

Concerns about Patient Safety or Quality of Care

If you would like to discuss your experience, please contact a Patient Experience Advocate at 270-417-5988. The Patient Safety Hotline may be accessed by calling 855-632-9120.

If you feel your complaint has not been resolved by our Patient Experience Team, you may file a complaint with the State and/or Joint Commission. You may also report safety concerns to the Joint Commission using the contact information below.

Cabinet For Health Services
Office of Inspector General
2400 Russellville Road P.O. Box 2200
Hopkinsville, KY 42241
Phone: 270-889-6052, Ext. 1201

The Joint Commission
Office of Quality Monitoring
1 Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181
Fax: 630-792-5636

If you are a Medicare patient, you have the right to file an appeal with the Peer Review Organization. Owensboro Health Regional Hospital is accredited by The Joint Commission demonstrating compliance with organizational, patient care and safety standards.