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Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital

Patient Safety

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital and Saint Thomas Health are committed to excellence. An important part of that excellence is our commitment to your safety. Patients who are more involved with their care in the hospital tend to do better and stay safer. By working together with physicians, nurses and other hospital staff, you can lower your risk of injury and make your hospital stay as safe as possible.

Pain Management

Pain management is of vital importance in the course of a patient’s hospital stay. Effective pain management promotes healing, allows for early ambulation and helps prevent complications. The nursing staff ask you about your pain so that we can treat your pain appropriately. We ask patients to report pain when it becomes bothersome and not wait until it is severe. You will be asked to rate your pain on a scale of zero to ten. Zero means you have no pain and ten means you have severe pain. Our goal is to anticipate your need for pain medications and to provide adequate pain control during your hospital stay.

Ask questions

Please ask a staff member for help. Feel free to talk to your doctor and nurse about any concerns. We welcome your questions. Ask questions if you do not understand. If you think of questions when your doctor or nurse is not present, write down your questions so that you can ask them at a later time. Get the most from your treatment.

Get the most from your treatment

Ask your doctor and nurse about your treatment plan. Make sure that you understand and agree with that plan. Ask a family member or friend to listen with you when a diagnosis, treatment plan, test results, or discharge plans are explained. This will help you remember. Be informed about your treatments. Ask when the treatments will be given and what they are for. If equipment is used for your care, know what it is for and how it should sound. Question anything that seems unusual or different from what you were told.

Get the most from your medicines

Ask your nurse about your medicines – what they are, what they look like, what they do, when they are given, and what side effects they might have. If you do not recognize a medicine, verify that it is for you. Let your doctor or nurse know if you have any allergies or have had previous reactions to any drugs, foods, or latex. Tell your doctor and nurse about all medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal remedies, and over-the-counter medicines. Do not take medicines that you brought into the hospital from home, unless told to do so by your doctor or hospital staff. Identify yourself.

Wear your hospital I.D. bracelet at all times. If your bracelet comes off, ask staff to get you a new one. Check the information on your hospital I.D. bracelet to make sure that it is correct. Make sure all staff check your I.D. bracelet before any procedure, test or medication.

Help prevent the spread of germs

Be aware that hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Let staff know if your gown or linens are soiled. Staff will welcome your reminder to wash their hands or wear gloves before examining you or giving you your medicine. Ask friends and relatives who have colds, respiratory symptoms, or other contagious illnesses not to visit you or anyone in the hospital. Get vaccinated, if it is recommended. Flu and pneumonia vaccines can help prevent illnesses in elderly and high-risk patients, and are available to you.

Be alert to situations in which you could experience a fall

Ask for help when getting out of bed, especially at night. The hospital is an unfamiliar place and most falls occur when patients try to get out of bed on their own to go to the bathroom. Make sure your call-button on your bed works and you know how to use it. Let your nurse know if you have trouble reaching the call button. If possible, call for help before the need to get to the bathroom becomes urgent. Make sure there is adequate light to see, and keep your eyeglasses within reach. Wear slippers with rubber soles to prevent slipping. Point out to staff any spills or obstructions on the floor. Make sure the brakes are locked when you get into and out of a wheel chair.

Personal items

Pay careful attention to where you place your dentures, hearing aids, and eye glasses, as they are all important to your comfort and well-being. They are best kept in a case/cup with your name on it when you’re not wearing them.


The hospital allows smoking only in outdoor designated areas. If you would like help to quit smoking, please speak to your nurse or doctor.

Prepare yourself for when you go home

Make sure you are clear about discharge instructions including medicines you need and information about a follow-up visit. Be sure you are given a phone number to call if you have questions.

Reporting Concerns Related to Your Care

If you have any concerns related to your care, treatment, service or a patient safety issue please bring them to our attention immediately. If these issues are not resolved, you may directly contact Administration at (615) 215-5, extension 520 or at administration@dchtn.com.

You may also contact the Tennessee Department of Health at 877-287-0010, via email at tn.health@tn.gov or by mail at:

Division of Healthcare Facilities
Centralized Complaint Intake Unit
227 French Landing, Suite 501
Heritage Place Metrocenter
Nashville, TN 37243

You may also contact The Joint Commission at 1-800-994-6610, via email at complaint@jointcommission.org or by mail at:

Office of Quality Monitoring
The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Blvd.
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181