Posted February 22 2012 03:42pm
Significant emphasis is placed on creating a positive patient experience and delivering the best health care every day with a focus on continuous improvement.
Your care providers work hard to ensure that every patient has a safe hospital stay and a positive outcome. However, there is always some risk involved in coming into a hospital. For example, falls, medication errors, allergic reactions and infections can occur despite everyone’s best efforts.
Research shows that patients who take a more active role in their care tend to have better health outcomes. “We encourage patients and their families to be a part of their health care team,” says Marie Paluzzi, Chief Operating Officer. “The hospital is committed to ensuring that patient care is as safe as possible but we need the patient’s help and input.”
Falls are the primary cause of injury admissions to Canadian hospitals and represent the sixth leading cause of death among older adults according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). “Preventing patient falls is an important quality and patient safety initiative for SAH and we have many processes in place, including a thorough falls prevention procedure and a number of universal fall risk interventions such as familiarizing the patient with their environment, maintaining the call light within reach, keeping floor surfaces clean and dry and many others,” adds Paluzzi.
SAH works hard to keep you safe while in hospital by minimizing or preventing falls. You can help by doing the following:
Most health care settings report less than 50 per cent adherence to hand hygiene and compliance among all Ontario health care providers is estimated to be less than 32 per cent.
“Although we are required to report hand hygiene compliance to the Ministry yearly, SAH tracks compliance monthly, based on regular audits among staff,” states Johanne Messier-Mann, Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Maternal Child and Medical Programs. “We are conducting hand hygiene audits more frequently and providing ongoing education to staff when necessary. As a result, our hand hygiene compliance rates for January were at 84%. Our ultimate goal is 100%”
Although hospitals work very hard to protect patients from infections, there are also some steps that patients can take during their stay to assist in these efforts:
In addition to falls and infections, medication errors can also occur in hospitals. “Medication reconciliation is a process whereby all medications are consciously continued, discontinued or modified in a timely manner as a patient moves through various levels of care from admission to discharge,” says Kelli-Ann Lemieux, Director of Clinical Support Services and Chief Allied Health Professional. “SAH strives to follow a thorough medication reconciliation procedure at admission, throughout transfers and at the discharge process.”
Patients can help to minimize or prevent medication errors:
It is also vitally important that you understand what to expect while you recover at home. Before you are discharged, it is a good idea to have a family member or a friend present to help you. Before you go home, ask as many questions as necessary to make sure you understand:
SAH is committed to enhancing patient safety and is continuously working to ensure that patients are safe. As such, the hospital has established a Quality Care Committee which oversees and makes recommendations related to patient safety - an integral part of the overall Quality Improvement Plan.
“We all have an important part to play when it comes to patient safety,” says Paluzzi. “We encourage patients to be actively involved in their health care so we can work together to ensure their hospital stay is as positive as it can possibly be.”
Rose Calibani is the Public Affairs Officer at Sault Area Hospital. We welcome comments and suggestions for future column topics. Please call Public Affairs at (705) 759-3671.