Learn more about patient safety efforts at UPMC

Tips for a Safer Hospital Stay: Talking to Your Health Care Provider

March is Patient Safety Awareness Month at UPMC. And while we do everything we can to make sure you are safe during your hospital stay, you can play an important role, too.

Patient safety is about practicing good hand hygiene, stopping falls, and medicine safety, just to name a few. It’s also important to make sure you’re communicating your health problems clearly to your health care provider.

Learn more about patient safety at UPMC. 

Communicating Your Health Problems, the Right Way

By taking these extra steps to explain your health problems to your health care provider, you will help your provider give an accurate diagnosis and lead them to better understanding of what you are experiencing.

  1. Write everything you are feeling down on paper. Try to be as exact as you can when writing down your symptoms, as this will help your provider better understand what you are experiencing.
  2. Ask questions. If you do not understand something your provider is telling you, or using medical words that you don’t know the meaning of, ask them to talk about it in a different way.
  3. Try to repeat back. Once your provider is done explaining something to you, such as a diagnosis or procedure, tell them what you understand will be happening based on what they just told you. This way if there is a miscommunication you can figure it out together.
  4. Have support. Ask a family member or friend to be with you when you are scheduled to speak with your provider so that they can ask other questions or ask the provider to be clearer, in case you missed something.