Be Involved in Your Care

At Kaiser Permanente, your health and safety are our first priority. In every setting — your doctor's office, local medical center, the hospital, and long-term care facilities — we work hard to ensure that you receive the highest quality of care possible.

Everyone has a role in making health care safe: physicians, nurses, technicians, and administrators. It is also important for you to be an involved member of your health care team. Here are some things you can do to actively participate in your care.

When you meet with your doctor or other member of your health care team:

  • Provide a full medical history, and describe any symptoms or health concerns you might have.
  • Make a list of the questions you want to ask, and write down your doctor's answers so you can refer to them later.

If you are receiving ongoing treatment:

  • Ask your doctor to describe what will be done during each step of your care, and make sure you are in agreement with the course of treatment.
  • Ask your doctor how long your treatment will last, what symptoms you might experience, and what other health care providers will be involved in your treatment plan.

If you feel uncertain or nervous about your treatment plan:

  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate and accompany you when you meet to talk to your doctor or nurse.
  • Your advocate can ask questions that you may not think of or remember and can help take notes.
  • Share key facts about your condition and care with your advocate so he or she can be supportive and help you make decisions when needed.

If you don't understand something:

  • Don't hesitate to speak up if something doesn't seem right.
  • If you think you are receiving the wrong treatment or medication, ask your provider to double-check.
  • Ask about follow-up care and make sure you or your advocate understand all the instructions.

Know your medications:

  • Keep a list of your medications and the times you take them in your wallet.
  • When you receive a prescription for a new medication, tell your health care team about any allergies you have or any negative reactions you have had to medications.
  • If your doctor or nurse gives you a medication or prescription that you do not recognize, ask him or her to make sure that it is correct.
  • Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to describe the purpose and possible side effects of the medications that are prescribed for you.
  • Ask for information about the medication in writing, and request that both the brand name and the generic name of the medication be included.
  • If you are taking several medications, ask your health care team if it is safe to take the medications together. This should include any vitamins, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter drugs.

What you can expect from our health care staff:

  • Expect health care staff members to introduce themselves.
  • If you are receiving care from a staff member who is not wearing an identification badge, ask to see it.
  • Before receiving medication or treatment, make sure your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or technician checks your medical record and confirms your name.
  • All health care staff know the importance of cleansing their hands between patients. Hand cleansing is very important in reducing the chance of passing germs from one person to another. If you do not see members of your health care team cleansing their hands before delivering care to you, be sure to remind them.

For more information about your health or medical condition:

  • For general information, check out our Health and Wellness Resources.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please talk with a member of your health care team or contact Member Services.