Clean bill of healthFairview Red Wing Medical Center committed a couple years ago to putting safety first. That meant every clinic visit and every hospital stay.
By: Anne Jacobson, The Republican Eagle
Fairview Red Wing Medical Center committed a couple years ago to putting safety first. That meant every clinic visit and every hospital stay.
"What we're trying to achieve is a culture of safety," said Nancy Dimunation, chief nursing officer.
That culture is paying off.
Fairview Red Wing did not have a single "adverse event" reported in the Minnesota Department of Health's annual document released Thursday, covering October 2007 to October 2008. Adverse events range from serious bedsores to death.
This is the second year Fairview Red Wing has had a clean bill of health.
Statewide, the number of adverse events in hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and community behavioral health hospitals increased from 125 to 312 in 2008, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The increase is almost entirely due to new reporting requirements. Using the 2006-07 requirements, the number of reported events would have been 141.
"We're proud that we have two years of no events, but we don't rest on those laurels," Dimunation said.
With that in mind, doctors, nurses and support staff will implement new and renewed efforts in 2009, according to Dimunation and Gina Mueske, who is the facility's risk manager and accreditation coordinator.
"We look at health care today in all its complexity and know we need to be vigilant and innovative," Dimunation said.
The organization will use the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation's 2009 National Patient Safety Goals as a guide.
For example, a leading cause of injury in a hospital is a fall.
Mueske said Fairview Red Wing staff assesses patients and if they're at risk of a fall, they receive a yellow wristband. Plus, a falling star goes on their door.
In 2009, these patients will receive red slippers or socks with grippers on both sides. These socks will improve their footing. They'll also alert every staff member that a serious fall is a possibility.
"We have a team to look at causes and ways to reduce risk of falls," Mueske said.
Another hazard is "look-alike, sound-alike" medication. Fairview Red Wing uses what she called tallman lettering on these prescriptions to alert staff.
"They need to stop and take a second and third look at that medication before administering it," she said.
Related to that is medication reconciliation. When a patient enters the clinic or hospital, staff will repeatedly ask what they're taking -- presciption drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements. The wrong combination is a hazard.
"When they leave, they're handed an update-to-date list," Mueske said.
"We really are looking to patients to be partners will us on this."
The safety program covers everything from staff washing hands before interacting with a patient to understanding new technology.
The two nurses admitted with a laugh that patients grow weary of the most obvious safety check: State your name and date of birth, please.
The safety may start with the medical staff, Dimunation said, but educating patients is just as important.
"We want to continue that and build that strong foundation of safety," she said.More from around the web