How can I prevent problems during shift changes when I'm in the hospital?

Typically, a lot is happening during shift changes that can make them dangerous. Some ways you as a patient can help minimize problems include:
  • Do not interrupt your clinicians if the shift change is happening at your bedside. If their process is designed well, the team will ask you if you have questions at the best point during the shift change. If not—be sure to tell them upfront you have questions so they can address them at a time during shift change when it will work well.
  • Encourage a family member or loved one to be with you during shift change so they can listen and ask questions for you if you are unable.
  • If a shift change takes place at the bedside, it is a good opportunity for you or your family member to ask questions, to hear what is next in your care, and to find out when you might expect to get medicines or be moved for a procedure. Knowing this information can help you and your family members know what to expect at every point of the care process. It can also allow you to speak up if you feel the health team is not meeting certain goals outlined during a shift change.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.