Friday, September 22, 2006

JCAHO announces 2007 Patient Safety Goals

As Backus Hospital staff continues to focus on patient safety, attention will soon turn to The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization’s 2007 National Patient Safety Goals.

Fortunately, Backus already has systems and initiatives underway to help comply with JCAHO’s new standards.

One major change includes a requirement for hospitals to define and communicate the means for patients and their families to report concerns about safety. Backus Hospital has a Patient Advocate available to patients, and her phone extension is listed in the patient handbooks that patients receive. During off hours, nursing supervisors are the contact.

“Encouraging patients to be actively involved in their healthcare is an important patient safety strategy,” said Peter Shea, MD, Medical Director at Backus.

Another new requirement is that hospitals attempt to identify psychiatric patients who might be at risk for suicide. James O’Dea, PhD, Administrative Director of Psychiatric Services at Backus, said systems have long been in place for this, and he is confident they meet the JCAHO criteria.

Hospitals will also be required to hand out complete lists of medications to patients upon discharge. Backus has a new Medication Reconciliation sheet in which patients’ medications are reviewed throughout their stay and whenever they are transferred to a different setting. This will soon be extended to include a complete list of medications when they are discharged. In addition, the Hospital will be making medication cards available to patients that they can take home with them, and update as their medications change. By carrying this card with them, it will help healthcare providers in future situations.

“We are making tremendous strides in making Backus Hospital as safe as it can be for our patients,” said Karen Long, RN, Vice President, Patient Care Services. “We must continue to monitor our procedures and identify areas for improvement.”

Anyone with questions about the JCAHO National Patient Safety Goals, or suggestions to improve patient safety at Backus, should call Mary Bylone, RN, Assistant Vice President of Patient Care Services and Patient Safety Officer, at ext. 2771 or Joe Hughes, Director of Quality Improvement, at ext. 2345.


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