Recently, The Joint Commission has launched a campaign called “SPEAK UP.”  It is a program designed to empower patients to become advocates for themselves to prevent errors in the field of health care.  It is necessary to “Speak Up” to make sure you or your loved one are getting the proper care and that protocol is being followed to ensure that your health is in the best of hands. 

At Safe Harbor Homecare, we want you to be involved in the care we are providing to you.  We feel it is important to have you as part of the process every step of the way.  With a better understanding of the care we are providing, it builds a stronger trust and bond between our homecare aids and patients making the overall experience easier and more enjoyable for both parties. 

Each letter in the acronym “SPEAK UP” stands for a different way you can get involved in your care and become a better advocate for yourself. 

S- Stands for speaking up if you have any questions or concerns.  It is your health and you should understand everything that is going on with how you are being cared for.  If you do not understand something, do not hesitate to ask again or for further explanation.  It is our duty to make sure that you feel comfortable and we want you to appreciate the care you are receiving. 

P- Stands for paying attention to the care you are receiving.  Knowing the specific care you are getting and if it is correct will help avoid errors and keep you involved in your care plan.  It is important to ask questions if something does not seem right.  Always make sure your care giver is wearing the proper identification and that he or she knows who you are and the proper doses of medication you receive.  Also note if your home care professional is washing their hands.  Hand washing prevents infection; you should not be afraid to remind them to do this.  Being aware of the care you are receiving reassures you and avoids mistakes from being made in this important field of care.

E- Stands for educating yourself about your condition, care plan, and services you will be receiving.  Ask your doctor about your condition and what kind of care you should be getting.  Also be sure to read all documents before you sign them.  Ask questions if you do not understand any aspect of a document.  It is your care and educating yourself as much as possible on your condition and care plan will help ensure you are getting the best care you can. 

A -Stands for asking a close friend or family member to be your advocate in times of need.  There may be times when you will be too stressed or not feeling well enough to “speak up” for yourself.  The person you select to be your advocate will be there at these times to ask questions for you and make sure you are getting the proper care.  They should also be aware of your wishes for life saving efforts and what to do if your condition worsens.  They should also read over important documents with you, so both of you fully understand the care plan you will be receiving. 

K- Stands for knowing what medications you take and why you are taking them.  Ask your doctor information about the medications you are given and if they are safe to take with other medications or over-the-counter medicines.  Be aware of the side effects of each medication.  Make sure the prescription is legible and if not, ask for it to be printed to guarantee the pharmacist gives you the right medicine.  Your advocate should also be aware of the medications you are taking and the correct dosages.  If your home care professional is administering your medications, make sure it is the right prescription and dosage.  Staying aware can avoid mistakes in administering medications. 

U- Stands for using a home care organization that is reputable.  It is important that they meet their own standards and of home care organizations nationwide.  Ask if they have worked with people with your condition before and the services they offer for you.  Be sure the home care organization is accredited and follows the rules that keep patients safe and makes sure quality standards are high. 

P- Stands for participating in your home care plan.  You are the core of your home care.  Every decision should be made with you, not for you.  You should have a say in every step of your home care plan.  You should know and get along with your home care professional and understand the treatment you will be receiving from them.  Ask about alternative options in your specific care and what is best for you. 

Safe Harbor Homecare has been serving Staten Island for nearly half a century.  Our business is prided on delivering high quality nursing and home health services to our patients and to maintain our long standing reputation for excellence in home care on Staten Island.  We urge our patients to learn about the “SPEAK UP” campaign and become advocates for themselves.  We want our patients to be involved in their care plans, so their experience with our service is the best it can be.