On March 3rd, the National Patient Safety Foundation kicks off Patient Safety Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “Patient Safety 7/365: 7 days of recognition, 365 days of commitment to safe care”. The theme reminds us that patient safety should be a daily focal point of the care provided to each patient. Throughout the week, health care organizations will focus on recognizing achievements in the patient safety arena as well as identifying the challenges that remain. This important week provides an opportunity for health care providers to renew their commitment to the work that lies ahead.
Gilchrist is very focused on patient safety goals that have been identified by the Joint Commission as a priority for health care organizations. Strategies have been implemented to ensure compliance with the patient safety goals. A great deal of diligence has been placed on the prevention of patient falls. Employees are committed to making sure that interventions are in place to reduce patient falls as well as potential injuries resulting from a fall. Oxygen safety is another safety focus for all of our patients. For those patients who reside in their home, the safe use of oxygen is continually reviewed with care givers and others who may live in the home with the patient. We want to make sure that our patients, their families and visitors are not smoking near the oxygen or demonstrating other unsafe behaviors that may be hazardous.
One of the challenges faced by many hospice organizations is keeping patients in the home safe from injury. Care in the home environment is provided by various care givers such as family members, friends or sometimes even a neighbor. The Gilchrist staff educate care givers on safety strategies but sometimes inadvertent consequences occur due to fatigue or a misunderstanding of the information that was received. A safety assessment of the home is completed when the patient is admitted into hospice and on an ongoing basis. Care givers are educated on how to give medications to the patient. The nurse works with the family and helps to implement safe guards to ensure that the patient is receiving the correct and right amount of medication.
The Gilchrist Safety Committee will be sending out patient safety tips throughout the week to all employees of the organization. Employees will also be encouraged to share their own ideas for improving patient safety outcomes. Patient Safety Awareness Week goes through March 9th.