The week of March 11-17 marks Patient Safety Awareness Week. Established by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, this week is designed to raise awareness around the need to remain continuously vigilant and critical of the processes we employ to deliver healthcare. It is the perfect time to reflect on the patient safety challenges that remain, but also an opportunity for organizations to begin to think about new patient safety issues. This year’s theme is “Patient Engagement and Safety Culture”, but how do we translate that into meaningful actions that will help drive patient safety?
Establishing an expectation of transparency and driving a relentless pursuit of safety, must become our foundation to daily operations. But how do we do that? The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Alert #57 provides us with 11 key actions and behaviors that when consistently applied throughout an organization, especially by leaders, will drive change within your organizations culture of safety. The Joint Commission’s Poster includes some simple, but effective approaches to advance your culture change.
But how do we engage patients in our safety efforts? One of our first steps must include ensuring that we are giving our patient’s sufficient information to make informed choices, and ensuring the patient understands how they need to participate in their own care. This includes sufficient information about the risks associated with their disease, their treatment and their compliance. Communicating in the best language for the patient and setting realistic expectations for the journey to healing will help the patient /family understand what will be needed to get better. Look at the Joint Commission 2018 Pain standards, they are a clear example of how TJC is driving this engagement model through the bundling of key components in standards such as setting realistic expectations for pain, and its management and developing the pain management plan of care in collaboration with the patient.