There are many qualities that distinguish high-quality patient care. It should be responsive, timely, and carefully coordinated (to name a few). We’d also put “safe” high up on the list. The truth is, we take it for granted that patients are safe—whether they’re being cared for in a hospital, long term care facility, or at home. But safety in healthcare isn’t a given. It takes dedication.
Patient Safety Week takes place from October 30 to November 3. In a recent statement, Health Canada explained that this annual campaign reaches out to “those receiving care, current and future healthcare professionals, decision makers, patients, clients, and their families.” With this in mind, we at Aetonix have rounded up four of our best posts that look at patient safety. The topics addressed here will be of interest to those working in the healthcare sector—as well as care recipients and their loved ones.
We hope you’ll read on. And remember to keep the conversation going—this week, and throughout the year.
This post, published in October of 2016, looked at the value of using wearable safety devices in long term care facilities. We decided to look at this issue in response to a trend that’s taking place across the United States.
Essentially, American nursing homes are phasing out the use of alarms to alert staff of potential falls. While they’re meant to protect residents, there’s a growing body of evidence that these safety precautions startle residents. As a result, they’re often more hazardous than helpful.
Wearable devices—such as lightweight alert bracelets—have many safety advantages. These include more peaceful facilities (where at-risk residents are less likely to encounter stress) and staff members that are more proactive (since they’re no longer relying on alarms).
This Patient Safety Week, we encourage management in Canada’s long term care facilities to think carefully about fall prevention.
Speaking of falls, this post from August 2016 delves into what makes a good fall prevention plan. In Canada, half of older adults in long term care facilities fall each year. As a result, the subject deserves a good deal of consideration this Patient Safety Week.
From our perspective, fall prevention should involve all staff that interacts with residents. It should also be facility-specific and (when possible) data-driven.
If you’re a manager, staying abreast of research on geriatric falls can provide insights that inform an effective prevention plan. So too can keeping an eye on environmental factors within your own care home—and recording the circumstances of any falls that occur in order to identify potential trends.
In it’s recent statement about Patient Safety Week, Health Canada encourages patients to think about their prescriptions. As a precaution, the organization advises patients to ask healthcare providers five questions regarding their medications.
It’s no wonder Health Canada is raising awareness around this issue. Alarmingly, one in five older adults is admitted to a hospital because of medication. Asking providers the right questions can go a long way toward preventing this serious consequence.
At Aetonix, we believe that loved ones can play an important role in medication management—especially for home care patients. Staying informed is key, which is why it often makes sense for trusted family members to connect with a patient’s circle of care—including doctors and pharmacists. For more tips, check out the post.
A post we published in December of 2016 looks at professional caregiver burnout in the home care sector. You may be aware that burnout can create major health hazards for those who experience it. But did you know that the phenomenon can also compromise patient safety?
Caregivers experiencing burnout may have difficulties performing their duties due to fatigue, emotional exhaustion, and poor quality sleep (to name a few issues). In its later stages, the condition can cause feelings of apathy, which also have the potential to create serious repercussions regarding quality of care.
As part of patient safety week, we hope that everyone involved in caregiving will review the signs of burnout. Increasing awareness—and reducing stigma—is key to ensuring that caregivers and patients are safe.
Feature image courtesy of GotCredit