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Published on March 03, 2006

Patient Safety: A Partnership Between Hospital and Patient

March 3, 2006

When you come to Kishwaukee Community Hospital or Valley West Community Hospital, you may be asked to identify yourself many times by giving your first and last name and your birth date. If you’re allergic to a medication, you may be given a yellow wristband instead of a white one. If you’re having surgery, your doctor may physically place a mark on your surgery site.

All these things are done to prevent errors and make sure your hospital stay is safe.

Kishwaukee and Valley West Community Hospitals are observing National Patient Safety Week March 5-12, by making patients more aware of what they do to prevent errors and what consumers can do as well.

Numerous patient safety procedures are in place at KCH and VWCH. For example, medications are scrutinized to make sure they are given correctly to the right patient and will not interact with other medications.

Each patient is assessed daily for his or her fall risk and extra safety measures are taken for patients at high risk of falling.

Procedures also are in place to ensure correct patient identification, that surgeries are happening as planned, that medications are being given as ordered, and that medical equipment functions correctly.

“Asking your name and birth date is a critical double check to make sure you receive the correct medications and procedures,” said Cheryl Fisher, RN, Director of Professional Practice.

Quality initiatives, staff education and new technology also go a long way to assure patient safety, Fisher said.

Both hospitals are participating in the “100,000 Lives Campaign,” a national initiative to implement proven procedures that save lives.

In addition, clinicians are required to have continuing education and competency assessment to stay current with their skills. Staff members also participate on the Medication Safety Team, Patient Safety Team and Environments of Care Committee to ensure safety for patients, employees and visitors.

Technological enhancements also are improving patient care and safety. At KCH, for example, an electronic medical record gives physicians easy and quick access to test results and other parts of the patient record from any computer at the hospital, office or home

Bedside medication verification will be implemented later this year. It involves using a handheld scanner at the bedside to match bar codes on the medication, physician’s medication order, and the patient’s ID.

The final ingredient in a safe hospital experience is the patient. “During Patient Safety Week, we also want to emphasize how patients can partner with the hospital in their care,” Fisher said.

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