First Image	Male with a stethoscope around his neck and a woman with long brown hair and a stethoscope around her neck standing on either side of a patient in his hospital bed, smiling.

SAFETY

Learn about our safety measures and initiatives

For the past five years, healthcare organizations across the country, including STEGH, have been improving patient safety and preventing patient safety incidents though the use of Safer Healthcare Now! interventions – a series of customizable, reliable, tested, and practical tools for improving quality and patient safety. During the past fiscal year, STEGH focused a number of interventions to improve patient safety and outcomes.

Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections, and while it may seem simple, it is in fact a complex cultural change for many hospitals. Ensuring hand hygiene is practiced appropriately is a cornerstone activity of STEGH’s safety strategic priority. Cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of germs including those that are resistant to antibiotics and are becoming difficult to treat.

According to the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, 220,000 people are afflicted with healthcare-associated infections in Canada every year and 8,000 to 12,000 of those individuals will die as a result of acquiring a healthcare-associated infection. We owe it to our patients and their families to prevent harm by practicing hand hygiene!

STEGH’s commitment to ensuring staff, physicians, affiliates, patients and visitors are compliant with safe hand hygiene practices is evident in its ongoing hand hygiene audits, the development and dissemination of information and education materials, and participation in the Canadian Patient Safety Institute’s annual “Stop Clean Your Hands” campaign.

Hand hygiene audit results are tracked and reported each week at STEGH’s leadership huddle and we are pleased to report that our overall compliance rate for fiscal year 2015/16 was 98%.

Another key component of our patient safety program at STEGH is a Falls Risk Reduction and Prevention Program as falls put patients at risk for serious injury and harm. It is a shared responsibility and it starts with prevention, assessment, identification of risk, implementation of strategies to mitigate risk, visual cues, or even with the activation of the bed alarm to alert staff if the patient is getting out of bed.

STEGH revised and launched a new Falls Risk Reduction Clinical Practice Guideline to provide the current knowledge of fall risk factors and interventions in the acute and post-acute care setting into a suggested best-practice protocol that applies to all STEGH patients, regardless of age or admission status. Universal falls precautions have been developed and apply to all patients regardless of age or admission status.

All areas of the hospital are expected to be aware of and implement strategies to ensure compliance. Currently, all patients are to be screened for risk of falling regardless of age or admission status.

STEGH’s commitment to patient safety is also demonstrated by its implementation of 11 patient safety bundles during the past fiscal year. Safety bundles are a structured way of improving processes of care and patient outcomes by utilizing evidence-based practices that, when performed collectively and reliably, have improved patient outcomes. While the practices themselves may not be new, they historically may not have been performed uniformly or consistently, making treatment less reliable. By bundling the interventions together into a package and successfully completing each step, there is no controversy, debate or variance in the approach.

Examples of the safety bundles implemented at STEGH this past year include:

  • Medication reconciliation, a formal process in which healthcare providers work together with patients, families, and care providers to ensure that accurate, comprehensive medication information is communicated consistently across transitions of care, to prevent medication errors and adverse events
  • Prevention and management of delirium, a syndrome characterized by a disturbance of consciousness and a change in cognition that develops over a short period of time. Delirium affecting ICU patients is complex and still poorly understood. The most important step in delirium management is early detection. If delirium is detected, efforts should focus on managing the symptoms while identifying the cause and minimizing the impact of risk factors.
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a serious complication of hospital care. Prevention of VAP with bundles of evidence-based practices when implemented together result in consistent reductions in the incidence of VAP.

To read more about all 11 Patient Safety Bundles, click here

Two female nurses in a nurse’s office wearing gray scrubs, one sitting down at a computer desk and the other standing behind her, both smiling.

Pharmacy staff complete a Best Possible Medication History (BPMH). A BPMH is a history created using a systematic process of interviewing the patient/family and a review of at least one other reliable source of information to obtain and verify all of a patient’s medication use (prescribed and non-prescribed).