How does Medical City Children’s Hospital protect my child’s safety?

Recently we have seen an increased awareness of and focus on patient safety. We want you to know that we share your concern. We continuously improve patient safety through use of best practices, improved technology and increased patient involvement in health care. Quite simply, we are committed to patient safety and have made it a top priority at Medical City Children’s Hospital.

To make you feel safe and secure while you are in our hospital, every member of our staff is dedicated to:

  • Providing you with a safe, healthy and secure environment.
  • Performing their jobs carefully and competently.
  • Using safe and effective practices and technologies.
  • Responding to your wants and needs in a timely manner.
  • Ensuring timely communications between caregivers and patients by answering questions about your treatment and your health, providing you with specific information about your care and explaining changes about your treatment.

The remainder of this page describes how you can become an active participant in your health care.

How do you make sure my child receives the correct medication?

Medical City Children’s Hospital uses Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR) and Bar Coding technology. Whenever a medication is given in the hospital, it is documented on an MAR (Medication Administration Record) that is stored in the patient’s medical record. Until now, this has been a manual, paper-based process.

The critical components of this safety technology are bar-coded wristbands, bar-coded medications and safety checks within the eMAR and Bar Coding software. Your child will receive a bar-coded patient identification band when admitted to the hospital. When a nurse or a therapist gives a medication, they will use the list of medications on the electronic MAR and verify that they are giving the right medication by scanning each dose at the bedside. Next, the nurse or therapist will verify that the correct patient receives these medications by scanning the patient’s wristband. If there is any problem with matching the medications to the patient, the safety software will issue a warning.

Medical City Children’s Hospital is proud to have been one of the HCA locations across the country selected to participate in the pilot for this technology. It has allowed us to improve medication safety for our patients; with the technology, we can:

  • Reduce medication errors through use of bar code identifiers on the patient armband and medication.
  • Make patient care information readily available to nursing staff during medication administration. For example, nurses can see critical values and comprehensive allergy and drug interaction information.
  • Provide physicians with a comprehensive list of patient medication use.

What kinds of information do you need from me to keep me safe?

Please be sure to tell your doctors and nurses about:

  • Prescription medications your child has been taking. The easiest way to do this is by downloading, printing out and filling in the Personal Medication Record (PDF) before you come to the hospital.
  • Over-the-counter medications that your child is using, or has commonly used, for pain, headaches, cough, cold and other ailments.
  • Any vitamins or supplements your child takes.
  • Use of natural remedies or alternative medications, such as herbals or botanicals.
  • Use of recreational drugs, if any.
  • Any concerns or questions you have about your child’s medications.
  • As much information as you may have or can remember about allergies or reactions to medications your child may have had in the past.
  • Your child’s diet, including foods and beverages he or she commonly eats or drinks.

What questions should I ask about the medications I receive?

You should never hesitate to ask questions that can help you be fully involved in your child’s health care. Examples include:

  • What is the name of this medication? Is this the brand name or the generic name?
  • What is it for?
  • How much should my child get, and how often?
  • What possible side effects are there?
  • Do you have anything I can read about this medication?
  • If this medication is unfamiliar or new to you, also ask:
  • Will this be replacing anything my child was taking before coming to the hospital?
  • Has this medication been on the market for more than a year?

If you notice anything different that catches your attention, ask. For example, if your child is given more pills at a particular time of day than normal, or if the color of the pills is different, ask about the change. It might be a new medication—or a generic version of the same medicine—that you should learn about.

Please ask any questions you may have about medications and other treatments. Also make sure to check—before receiving medication, a treatment or any service—that it matches your child’s name as it appears on the wristband.

How can I keep up with the latest medication safety alerts?

To help you remain current on medications, error reporting and news, visit the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

Is there anything I can do for my child’s safety?

There are a number of concrete steps that you can take while your child is in the hospital to help keep everyone safe:

  • Do not bring latex balloons. Latex balloons have proven to be a serious suffocation hazard for children. There are also many children that are allergic to latex. Therefore, no latex balloons are allowed on the unit. Also, please refrain from inflating latex gloves. Mylar balloons are a much safer alternative, and children love them.
  • Keep crib and bedside rails up. Both rails must always be placed in the full, upright position if a parent or nurse is not standing right at the crib or bedside.
  • Inform your nurse anytime you leave your child unattended.
  • Do not smoke in the building. Medical City Children’s Hospital and the entire Medical City campus are smoke-free facilities. Smoking is not permitted inside the buildings at any time. There are designated smoking areas around the perimeter of the hospital that you may use.
  • Have your electrical equipment checked. All outside electrical equipment must be checked by Biomedical Services and undergo a safety inspection. This includes hairdryers, radios, laptops, DVD players, PlayStation and Xbox, and more. Your nurse can help you with this.
  • Keep live plants and flowers out of certain rooms. Due to the immunocompromised state of many of our patients, live flowers and plants are not permitted in rooms 601-618.
  • Follow isolation room instructions. If your child’s condition requires that he or she be placed in an isolation room, a sign will be placed on the door stating what precautions must be taken by anyone entering the room. Following these rules helps prevent the spread of illness to other patients, staff and visitors.