Speak up for Your Safety: 5 Tips to be a Partner in Your Care

Dear Readers,

At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, our care providers want to partner with our patients to ensure the highest quality, safest care possible. In honor of National Patient Safety Awareness Week this week, here are five tips for patients and their family members to heed in order to be well-informed partners in their care. The most important thing to remember is to always speak up when you have a question or concern about any aspect of your care.

Thank you for reading,





Karen Fiumara, PharmD, BCPS
Director, Patient Safety
Brigham and Women’s Hospital


  1. Show Identification: Please be sure your care team checks your patient ID, name and date of birth before any test or treatment. Speak up and ask a question if staff do not introduce themselves, wear a name badge or explain how they will be part of your care.
  2. Ask Questions: Confirm that you and your care team agree on any procedure, surgery and plan of care. Ask about your test results, especially if you haven’t received them in the timeframe your care provider told you. Don’t assume that no news means good news. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
  3. Update Medicine Lists: Carry a list of all medicines you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements. Speak up if a medicine looks unfamiliar or if you have questions.
  4. Prevent Infections: Please get the vaccines you need. All staff and visitors should clean their hands often to prevent spreading germs. Speak up if you observe someone not cleaning their hands. Wear a mask if you are sick to protect those around you from getting sick.
  5. Report Safety Concerns: Tell us if something makes you worry or feel unsafe. Speak up if you see something that could make you fall so we can clean the area. Use your call light if you need any help.