Patients’ health and safety in the hospitals
Patient Safety is a health care discipline that emerged with the evolving complexity in health care systems and the resulting rise of patient harm in health care facilities. It aims to prevent and reduce risks, errors and harm that occur to patients during provision of health care. A cornerstone of the discipline is continuous improvement based on learning from errors and adverse events. Patient safety is fundamental to delivering quality essential health services. Indeed, there is a clear consensus that quality health services across the world should be effective, safe and people centred. In addition, to realize the benefits of quality health care, health services must be timely, equitable, integrated, and efficient.
Factors that can help improve patient safety in hospitals
No matter how you define it, patient safety is nothing to take lightly. Each person who works in a healthcare facility has a part to play in keeping patients safe. Read up on these factors to discover what you and your healthcare facility can do to help.
- Use monitoring technology
Healthcare workers care for several patients during their shifts: each one with varying needs, medications, and procedures. The use of monitoring technology can help nurses and physicians verify that they are always following the right procedure for the right patient and that they are keeping on top of each patient’s needs. Monitoring systems like these provide an easy way to catch and prevent harm from human error in hospitals.
- Make sure patients understand their treatment.
You may think all patient safety responsibilities fall to the healthcare provider but making sure that patients are informed about their own care is also vital to preventing errors. This does not mean patients need to have the same knowledge of their situation as a healthcare professional—but a high-level understanding of the treatment and the risks they face can go a long way. Simply asking patients to recall and restate what they have been told is a strategy with enough evidence to support its regular use in patient safety initiatives.
By verifying that they understand their treatment plan, medication, and medical procedures, you are giving them the tools they need to notice and prevent errors in their own care.
- Verify all medical procedures
We have all heard the horror stories about a patient having their right knee replaced when it was the left knee that was scheduled for operation. Building regular verification processes into hospital procedures helps prevent errors like these.
The most famous example of this type of verification is the Universal Protocol, which helps prevent surgical errors by allowing any member of a surgical team to call a “time out” to verify the details of the surgery. However, Sands notes that verification also plays a part in other aspects of healthcare, such as verifying medication dosage and timing, or verifying that a provider followed handwashing procedures.
- Follow proper handwashing procedures
Simple actions can have a big impact on patient safety. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites handwashing as one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs and prevent infections in hospitals. The CDC’s Clean Hands Count campaign recommends that healthcare providers use alcohol-based sanitizer regularly, as well as have open conversations with patients about the importance of hand hygiene. This allows patients to take control of their own health by asking healthcare providers if they have washed their hands when they enter the room.
- Promote a team atmosphere.
Each member of a hospital’s staff plays a part in maintaining patient safety. Emphasizing teamwork and being honest with staff about their role in patient safety can make a big difference in hospital’s culture and attitude toward preventing errors.
Hospitals are urged to share patient feedback and patient safety trends in the hospital, as well as forming interdisciplinary risk assessment teams to help address patient safety issues and promote teamwork among hospital staff.