Monthly Archives: March 2013

Patient Safety Week: Are we safer this year?

By Melissa Hamlin

It’s Patient Safety Week, but for patients and their families every week is safety week. It’s an opportunity for all of us to think about how we can collaborate to eliminate all preventable harm. It’s also a time of reflection:  Are we safer at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota this year than we were last year?

  • In the spring of 2012, we began rolling out bar code medication administration. That continues and is now being implemented on our St. Paul campus.
  • Also in the spring, we joined forces with 33 other pediatric hospitals to address our collective patient safety priorities:  blood stream infections, surgical site infections, urinary tract infections, ventilator acquired pneumonia, pressure ulcers, venous thromboembolism, readmissions, patient falls and adverse drug events. This work will be a continuous process based on evidence and best practice, and we are making a concerted effort to reduce the incidence of these events at Children’s.
  • In early September, the organization began a Daily Leadership Huddle that has provided Children’s leaders with increased awareness of front-line operations, a forum to identify problems and assign ownership for issue resolution and ensure common understanding of the day’s priorities.
  • Our infection control department initiated the “Wash ‘Em Proud” campaign encouraging staff, family and visitors to be active participants in reducing the spread of germs by practicing good hand hygiene.  (Check out our “Wash ‘Em Proud” video here.) As a result of organizational emphasis and awareness on healthcare acquired infections (HAI’s), we saw a significant decrease in the rate of HAI’s at Children’s — a 28 percent decrease from 2011 to be exact.
  • Our Quality and Safety team has begun work to increase awareness and visibility with front-line staff.  Early work is focusing on regular attendance at unit council meetings, transparency around safety events and increased communication.

We’ve made great progress, but we must continue adjusting our strategies to ensure that the patients who come to us are provided with the best, safest care possible.  At Children’s, we are committed to this.

So to answer the question: Are we safer this year than we were last year?  Yes, we are, but we can always make improvements. Here’s to making 2013 even safer!

Happy Patient Safety Week!

Hamlin, MSN, RN, BC, is a patient safety consultant at Children’s.