Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Highlighting Our Work When It Comes To Patient Safety

This week is National Patient Safety Awareness Week and for this reason, I want to take the time to recognize the important achievements we as a healthcare system have made when it comes to the safety of our patients. I’ve asked Carolyn L. Candiello, Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety with GBMC HealthCare, to be a guest blogger this week. I hope the readers of this blog will find Carolyn’s observations on our patient safety work as illuminating as I did. 

Carolyn writes….

This Sunday, marked the beginning of National Patient Safety Awareness Week.  This year’s theme is “We are all Patients!” and if you think about it, it’s very much in line with our own vision – that we treat everyone the way we would want to be treated.

As I reflect on this week, I think it is a good time to pause and consider what we all (nurses, techs, providers, support staff, volunteers, and leaders) have accomplished so far and to recommit to following safe practices for patient safety. Earlier this month, The Joint Commission issued their 57th Sentinel Event Alert which discusses the essential role of leadership in patient safety. I am so proud to be part of an organization where safety starts at the highest level. In 2010, our Board of Directors made a commitment to improve patient safety and together we have all been working tirelessly to achieve highly reliable care for our patients! 

The results have been remarkable --in 2011, GBMC had 21 serious safety events. So far, in FY 2017 we have had one.  We have seen other improvements just as remarkable – reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections from one every week to just under one every other month.  Having gone over a year without an event, I consider that we have virtually eliminated serious hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, ventilated associated complications, infections related to hip and knee replacements and are well on our way to achieving reliability in many other areas. This didn’t happen by “wishing and hoping” it happened as a result of several changes we made.

1. We adopted a Just Culture – a firm belief that every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.  When errors happen, our focus is not on the individual, BUT on the system and how we can fix our processes.
2. We adopted a Reporting Culture– we believe that it is important for each of us to speak up when something isn’t right and to report incidents of harm.  One of our goals for a few years was to increase reporting into Quantros!  We went from receiving only a handful of incidents each month to receiving hundreds!  We encourage everyone, regardless of position, to report incidents of harm or potential harm.
3. We have adopted a Learning Culture - We are open and transparent about learning from our experiences. We openly share our data with our community on our website.  When there is learning from our LDM report, we share it in the daily email.  Each week we share deeper learning in the Tuesday Pearl of Wisdom. Three years ago, we started Great Save Wednesdays where not only do we share learning, we highlight safe behaviors by so many of our front line staff.  Each month we share learning in the form of a patient story – the story is told at leadership and board meetings and is available on the Infoweb.  Every manager is asked to share these stories at their staff meetings.

While all of these things help to build a culture of high reliability in order to provide the care to every patient every time as we would our own loved one, we are not there yet! I ask that each of you to join me in recommitting to taking the National Patient Safety pledge.  I pledge to strive to implement and follow practices that increase the safety of my patients and my team!  You can pledge on their website or enter your commitment below!
Thank you for all that you do every day to make care safer – to provide the care we would want for ourselves and for our loved ones!

Team GBMC again demonstrated its commitment to its mission of health, healing, and hope for the community. I witnessed the teamwork, camaraderie and “can do” attitude of our people first hand.

Our environmental and food service workers were extraordinary in their ability to keep our facility clean along with feeding our patients, staff, and volunteers. Our grounds crew did their usual phenomenal job of snow removal to make our campus safe and passable and our facilities team made sure that everything remained in working order.

Most of the nurses and nursing techs, worked over 24 hours, and many of our physicians came in despite the inclement weather, I truly appreciate your commitment. You all clearly displayed your dedication to treating all of our patients the way we would want our own loved ones to be treated, every time.

I also want to point out that our leadership team also did a fantastic job, led by Stacey McGreevy, our incident commander, who did a remarkable job coordinating everyone’s actions. Cate O’Connor-Devlin helped to coordinate and address nurse staffing for over 200 patients and Michelle Tauson exhibited their expertise in disaster management for the duration of the snow event. I want to thank all the staff members who helped in the hospital’s command center, answering phones, coordinating accommodations for employees who stayed overnight and ensuring that all units had the proper coverage to care for our patients.

Again, my appreciation to all who worked so hard to get the job done for our patients and our community during the snow storm.

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