The Health care system is organized by people where errors could happen. Although there are systems developed to reduce the errors they don’t necessarily prevent all mistakes. Some studies even suggest that medical error could have caused as many as 400,000 deaths in the United States each year and not all errors result in death. The medical error an individual experiences can also affect them in the long term or could permanently impact their physical health, financial well-being or emotional health. Also, effective communication is an important aspect of ensuring patient safety. With the complex health care system, there has to be a clear and effective communication to accomplish the goals of patient recovery and safety. The communication breakdowns within the healthcare system can have serious and often deadly consequences.

According to a consensus report from the National Academy of Medicine, around 5% of individuals seeking care in outpatient settings have a diagnostic error and around 1 in 31 hospitalized patients contract an acquired infection in the health setting. Although it is worth celebrating the improvements in patient safety and quality in the recent years, it is also equally imperative that hospitals continue to strive for better performance. While hospitals and health systems continue to find ways to advance quality care, the American Hospital Association (AHA) has taken a leadership role in delivering information to assist hospitals further improve the work they do.

The patient safety awareness week is an event hoped to encourage people to learn about health care safety. As everyone connects with the healthcare system at some point in their life, therefore everyone has a role to play in the advancement of safe health care. The patient safety awareness work is not only just a platform for awareness about patient safety but also a time to recognize the work accomplished by others.

“Most of us ended up in health care because we feel it is a great reward to help people and to be of service to people. For me, I can think of few greater calling,” said James Savage, director of ambulatory operations in the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “Part of our responsibility is to ensure that our patients and their families’ needs are being met and they are being seen in a safe environment. Together with the wonderful team of people I am part of in pediatrics, that is what we try to do each day.”

Getting involved

For those interested in getting involved, there are many ways for you to take part in the Patient Safety Awareness week.

  • Join a complimentary webcast on patient safety topics
  • You can take a pledge along with health care professionals to help reduce harm in health care with actions that each of us can take to improve care across the care continuum.
  • If you are an organization, you could join the initiative and help raise awareness by serving as a model for their stakeholders and peers
  • Join a Twitter chat with the hashtag #PSAW19

Nursing and Patient Safety

Although Doctors are perceived to be the head of the health care team, nurses are the constant presence by the side of the patient and interact with the physician, families and the pharmacists. Therefore, nurses play a critical role in ensuring patient safety by monitoring patients for detecting errors, monitoring patients for clinical problems and continuing to perform various tasks to ensure patient receive high-quality care. Therefore, assigning an increasing number of patients can affect their ability to provide safe care. There have been several seminal studies that demonstrated the association between nurse staffing ratios and patient safety illustrating the risk of patient safety events, morbidity and even mortality as the total number of patients per nurse increases. And, as of September  2015, 14 states have adopted regulations regarding nurse staffing ratios and along with it mandatory overtime for nurses in 16 states have also been restricted.

The rehabilitation program enables a relearning process so the individual can recover by learning new ways to compensate for abilities that were lost because of the injury. The goal of rehabilitation is to ensure the individual can perform their activities of daily needs safely and independently. There are various rehabilitation options such as;

  • Acute rehabilitation involves a team of health professionals who work with the patient to regain as many activities of daily living as possible.
  • Post-acute rehabilitation is for those who require less-intensive rehabilitation service for a longer period of time.
  • Day rehab or Day hospital is for those after their discharge from inpatient post-acute rehabilitation facility and enables the person to return home at night.
  • Outpatient Therapy may be required for those after an acute or post-acute rehabilitation to continue receiving therapies to help enhance their recovery.

Few Safety Tips and Prevention of TBI

Prevention of TBI is considered the best approach as there is no cure. Therefore steps must be taken to reduce the risk of a concussion or other forms of serious brain injury from occurring. Some of the general prevention tips include;

  • Always wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle
  • Do not drink and drive
  • Use age and size-appropriate car seats or a booster
  • Wear a helmet when participating in contact sports
  • Wear a helmet when horseback riding
  • Wear a helmet in a sports activity such as skiing, skating and skateboarding
  • Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, scooter and other open unrestrained vehicles
  • To prevent falls, ensure no obstacles are placed on walking pathways
  • Ensure adequate lighting particularly on places like the stairs for individuals with poor vision
  • Use gates at the top and the bottom of the stairs to prevent falls among infants
  • Using playgrounds with soft material.