Every year across Canada, 28,000 people die from preventable harm while receiving care in our hospitals and health care systems. This makes patient safety incidents the third leading cause of death in Canada, behind only cancer and heart disease. Without changing how we understand and deal with patient safety, 1.2 million Canadians will lose their lives from preventable patient harm in the next 30 years.
At Sinai Health, we are continually striving to ensure that errors are addressed, learned from, and that we have a culture that supports putting patient safety first.
At our most recent Town Halls, we asked two care team members, to share how they make patient safety a priority, and what their units are doing to help build a culture that works to end preventable harm. In recognition of Patient Safety Week (October 28 – November 1), we share their wise words.
Gladys Anung-Gutang, Registered Nurse from 6 North Renal/Medical Unit, Bridgepoint Active Healthcare
I come to work each day to care for patients and make a difference in patient’s lives, and it is my goal to ensure that I provide the highest quality of patient care in the safest possible environment.
As a member of 6 North team I am proud to say that we are the only unit that specializes in peritoneal dialysis. 6 North nurses undergo training for peritoneal dialysis procedures that effectively deliver a safe practice and ensures the most effective outcome. I am also proud to say that we are the pilot unit for computerized physician order entry, electronic administration record and bedside medication verification which will go live throughout in the hospital this coming November. This is one of the initiatives that our organization is instituting in order to promote patient safety by reducing the possibility of medication errors.
In our daily safety huddles, we discuss patients that are at high risk for falls and who would benefit the most from being in a room with smart cell flooring installed. We also focus on a number of different topics in these daily huddles, including wound care, medication safety, discharge planning and behavioural care.
I believe that the best way to achieve patient safety is to create an environment that is safe and satisfying for the nurses, physicians and other health care providers, and this is something we all strive for on 6 North.
Jo Kathrina Cruz, Registered Nurse from 14 North Surgical Oncology and Step Down Unit, Mount Sinai Hospital
To me, patient safety is one of the things that guides our entire nursing practice. Patients come to our hospital to get excellent care and they look at us in some say to protect them.
Our unit has worked hard to enhance patient safety. The nursing staff and managers participate in daily safety huddles where we look at patients at risk for falls, catheter acquired urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, or to have a general change in LOC. We then figure out possible interventions and see they are implemented as soon as possible. We do quarterly audits of mattresses on our unit – to see if the patient is on the right type mattress in order to prevent pressure sores. Our ward clerks have also taken the initiatives to make announcements encouraging patients and families to practice hand hygiene before meals. Depending on the situation, we have worked to ensure that when there are more complex patients on the unit, that each patient gets safe and competent nursing care. Overall, our unit works as a team to identify and address possible safety issues, and we will continue to find new ways to enhance and promote patient safety.