Patient Safety Awareness Week kicked off on Monday. The campaign, sponsored by the National Patient Safety Foundation, focuses on the many ways hospitals, patients and their families can partner to improve safety throughout the year. Although the week tends to put more emphasis on those in the clinical world, facilities professionals know that the mission to improve patient safety involves everyone.
For instance, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s division of infectious diseases and the organization’s Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality recently embarked on a three-year study aimed at using a human factors engineering approach to measure and improve cleaning and disinfection processes of patient rooms. The study is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and though it is in its preliminary stages, the researchers have already returned some critical data. Read more about the study.
Another way to improve patient safety is to reduce fall risk. According to a Joint Commission report, the Veterans Health Administration has reduced its mean aggregated fall-related injury rate from 6.8 to 4.8 per 100,000 bed-days of care. Also, a researcher from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, is leading a research team in a multiphase project to determine if patient room design impacts safety and, if so, how to improve it. Debajyoti Pati, professor of environmental design in the university’s College of Human Sciences, says that the research team found that falls frequently happen as elderly people assume four types of postures while interacting with their physical environments: pushing, pulling, turning and grabbing.
Other facility-related ways to improve patient safety include safe design in behavioral care facilities, ensuring that hospitals have adequate emergency power systems, stopping the spread of infectious diseases through proper planning and maintenance of hospital air isolation rooms and many more.