Every day is Patient Safety Day

By Loma Lohn, Patient Safety Manager, Meade MEDDAC

Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center is celebrating National Patient Safety Awareness Week as part of a national education and awareness campaign for improving patient safety.

Kimbrough’s campaign started Monday and runs through Friday.

The theme for 2017 is “United for Safety. Every Day is Patient Safety Day.”

Every member of the health care team at Kimbrough is committed to providing the safest care possible. You are the center of the health care team and have a valuable role to play by being an engaged and active team member.

Patients and providers have different roles in the health care process and need to work together for the best results. Communication is the key.

Understanding your health issues can help prevent medical errors and keep you healthy. Asking questions and committing to your health care will help build a partnership between you and your health care team.

Important Tips

Here are some important tips that will help you be an involved member of the patient safety team:

  • Talk to your doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

Write down your questions and bring them to your appointment. Speak up if you have any questions or concerns. Your health is important; it is OK to ask for further explanation if you do not understand information you have received.

Ask questions about every part of your care until you are comfortable making the best and most informed decisions.

  • Medication errors are one of the most common health care mistakes.

Know your medications and the reason for taking them. Inform your health care team of all the medications you take, including any herbal supplements or over-the-counter medications.

At the end of your visit, you will be given an updated list of your medications. Keep this list in your wallet and show it to your next care provider.

  • Share any changes in your medications with your primary care team. It is important they have the most current information to provide you with safe care.
  • Learn as much as you can about your illness.

Ask your providers if they have any written information for you. Other resources to obtain health information include the library, respected websites and support groups.

Part of Kimbrough’s role in patient safety is to follow the National Patient Safety Goals developed by The Joint Commission. View each patient safety goal as a safety net in place to protect you and ensure you receive safe and quality health care.

Be Involved

The following are a few of the safety measures in place at Kimbrough:

  • Verification of the patient’s full name and date of birth before any interventions, dispensing of medications, blood work is drawn or X-rays are taken.
  • The health care team will label all laboratory specimens in front of you to prevent mislabeled or unlabeled specimens.
  • Staff members will wash their hands or use hand sanitizer prior to working with you.

If you do not see us do this, it is OK to ask us to do so. Hand washing or use of an alcohol-based cleaner is the best way to fight the spread of infection.

  • The team will review all your medications with you, whether prescribed or over the counter, and provide you with an updated list at the end of your visit.
  • Prior to any surgery or procedure, the surgeon will confirm the planned surgery with you and place their initials at or near the surgical site.

This safety measure is in place to prevent wrong site, wrong person and wrong procedures from occurring.

Last year, the Fort Meade Medical Activities Command implemented a patient safety campaign called 2+U=0, which was developed to reduce the risk of errors involving incorrect patient identification.

The goal of this campaign is to promote discussion between patients and staff on the importance of verifying the patient’s full name and date of birth at every step of the patient visit. By performing this step every time, we ensure the correct patient identification for prescriptions, laboratory work, radiology tests and procedures.

Even though many advancements have been made in patient safety, the goal is to continue to reduce errors. Reaching that goal takes the entire health care team.

By becoming involved as an active participant in your health care, you will have an impact in ensuring your safety.

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