Did You Know September 17th Is “International Patient Safety Day”? Here Are 5 Simple Ways Healthcare Professionals Can Help Ensure Patient Well-Being.
Concern over patient safety is nothing new, and most healthcare professionals are cognizant of the challenge every single day. But that doesn’t mean all medical workers are doing everything possible to promote well-being. After all, nobody is perfect, and resources and technologies evolve rapidly. Even terrific doctors can be stuck in their ways after years of developing habits!
“International Patient Safety Day” (September 17th) is a great reminder for all healthcare professionals to avoid becoming complacent when it comes to looking after their patients. Here are 5 easy ways medical workers of every variety can improve outcomes and ensure safe discharge processes and care management.
- Stay Educated – Even top-notch professionals must stay current on industry developments, changes in best practices and new technologies. While we would like to assume doctors and nurses read all the latest studies in medical journals, they are sometimes too busy to make the time for continuing education.
Medical professionals must dedicate time for continuing education beyond what is simply required for licensure or certification. And doing so is especially critical for those who work hands-on with patients or are part of the hospital or nursing facility discharge process. Research is ongoing, and professionals who have an “always-be-learning” attitude are best equipped to look after the safety of their patients.
- Overcommunicate – People who work in specific industries often develop their own language that makes sense to them and their co-workers but may seem foreign to the layperson. It’s easy to fall into such a trap, and medical professionals are not immune. In addition, the healthcare ecosystem is incredibly complex and hard to navigate for everyday people.
Nurses, case managers, social workers and doctors should always strive to “overcommunicate.” Even if the redundancy seems silly, most patients and families will appreciate the effort. And patient safety will improve through better compliance with doctors’ orders, medication regiments and other directives.
- Work with Family and Friends – Successful business owners know it’s critical to connect with all “stakeholders” when trying to form new partnerships. Essentially, the odds of success improve when more decision-makers are included in the conversation. The same philosophy holds true for patient safety. When more family members and friends are included in the hospital discharge process or care management discussions, patients are likelier to see positive outcomes.
Discharge planners, case managers, social workers, nurses and doctors should always work to maintain strong communication with any family members or friends who are clearly invested in a patient’s wellbeing. They will prove instrumental in ensuring medication adherence and other best practices likely to improve patient safety. They will also exert positive influence over patients who are otherwise non-compliant.
- Plan Early – Like most people, healthcare professionals are often over-worked and simply don’t have enough hours in their day to complete all their desired objectives. But it’s important to plan early when working to ensure patient safety. Whether it’s discharge planning or developing an ongoing care plan, medical workers should begin the process as soon as they have contact with a new patient.
As previously mentioned, families are often confused when navigating the healthcare system. So, they will also feel empowered by early planning that gives them peace of mind. One of the biggest complaints expressed by hospital patients and their families is that they lack knowledge of the discharge processes and timetables. Nobody wants to hear that their loved one will be “kicked out” of the hospital or nursing facility with short notice! And most importantly, patients and families that begin planning early are more apt to implement patient safety solutions.
- Refer and Coordinate Ancillary Services and Technologies – Some healthcare professionals fall into the trap of only referring services and durable medical equipment resources that are covered by Medicare or insurance. It seems they’re afraid to recommend solutions that are out-of-pocket expenses, even if those services or tools improve safety and quality of life. But many patients and families do have the financial resources to cover discretionary costs. So, it’s a mistake for medical workers to avoid broaching the subject.
Ancillary services like private-duty home care, for example, compliment Medicare home health agency resources. The latter provides occasional nurse and therapy visits but doesn’t address general supervision and fall prevention needs. Likewise, affordable technology such as LifeFone personal emergency response solutions (PERS) can help ensure patient safety. LifeFone PERS provides immediate communication and emergency response capabilities in the event of falls or medical episodes. Healthcare workers should keep an open mind and empower patients and families by educating them on all appropriate patient-safety tools and services regardless of payer status.
At the end of the day, most healthcare professionals are incredibly empathetic and passionate about their work. After all, that’s why they chose a career focused on helping others. But that doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvements when it comes to patient safety. All medical workers should use “International Patient Safety Day” as a time for reflection and education in order to better care for vulnerable patients.
If you’re a healthcare professional seeking affordable technology that dramatically improves patient safety in the home, be sure to call LifeFone today for customized emergency alert solutions!