Are Your Patients Safe?
March 2 through 8, 2014 was National Patient Safety Awareness week. This annual event is hosted by the National Patient Safety Foundation, a not -for -profit organization whose aim it to help create a world where patients AND health care workers are from harm. (http://www.npsf.org/
As an infection preventionist, my primary focus is preventing harm by reducing health care acquired infections (HAIs) and occupational exposures to infectious agents. The Joint Commission continues to emphasize this measure as part of National Patient Safety Goal number 7 that applies to hospitals, behavioral health and ambulatory care. I aim to make my priority align with the other members of the health care team.
In reality, there are many competing demands for the nurse and the NPSF's aim is much broader than infection prevention. The larger umbrella of patient harm includes medication errors, falls and wrong site surgery. This year, NPSF focused on prevention of diagnostic errors. They estimate that 40, 000-80,000 deaths occur annually due to incorrect, missed or delayed diagnosis. While some of these events seem more like medical issues, nurses are patient advocates and can play a key role in averting many of these adverse occurrences.
What do you see as the most dangerous harm to your patients and more importantly, how can it be rectified?