An ironic truth about any healthcare facility is that although it’s the very place where the sick go to get better, it also becomes a hub of numerous infections and diseases for the same reason. That’s exactly why it is absolutely necessary to take all the necessary precautions to make hospitals and other healthcare facilities as safe as they possibly can be. In light of that fact, here are a few safety points to go through for managers and keepers of healthcare facilities.
Staff Awareness Programs
Ignorance is the prime reason as to why accidents happen in a healthcare facility, unlikely as it may sound. Therefore, it is imperative that all employees working in a facility are made properly aware of the dangers and how to deal with them safely, via frequent awareness programs. This includes everyone working in the facility, not just those at the highest risk of exposure, and attendance at such programs should be mandatory. Even those that know all the safety protocols by now need to be reminded of them every once in a while so that they don’t become lax with the safety protocols and an unfortunate but common mistake like hospital acquired venous thromboembolism doesn’t end up killing a patient.
Patient Awareness Programs
Long term patients and their guardians need to be made aware of the risks as well so that they can keep themselves and others safe in a hospital environment. Running patient awareness programs is, once again, a great idea to increase hospital safety.
Infection Control Consultancy
Hire an infection control consultant to decrease the risk of patients developing infections during dialysis, long term care, rehabilitation, ambulance services, dental procedures and so on. They can and will adjust their consultancy details according to the facility’s customized requirements, but at the end of it, the hospital will become a safer place for both patients and the staff.
Maintaining Efficiency is Important
Maintaining efficiency is one of the most important features of any business, but when it comes to the healthcare industry, there are literal lives at stake. Therefore, a medical facility needs to make sure that the following rules are always maintained to keep things as efficient as ever:
- Hospital/clinic capacity should not be exceeded, unless there’s a public emergency
- Adequate staffing and fixed hours are necessary steps to keep things flowing smoothly and to keep employees from being burnt out
- Restocking of supplies should be a priority
Always Keep the Facility Prepared for Emergencies
Everything from emergency response teams to emergency supplies should always be ready 24×7 for action. Even when the concerned facility is just a clinic, there should at least be a basic emergency team and strategy in place to take care of an urgent situation until further help arrives. This measure can and probably will save lives because a lot of the patients visiting clinics for tests or consultation are already in a serious condition, so it’s predictable that someone among them will eventually end up needing emergency assistance at some point of time or the other.
The CDC has confirmed the fact that more than 30% of the falls in a hospital result in further injury, which at times, jeopardizes the efficacy of the original treatment, or could even worsen the original condition for which the patient was in the hospital. As a direct result of that, the patient’s stay in the hospital stretches beyond the expected term by an average of almost six and a half days. Slipping and falling is a regular occurrence in hospitals, as should be expected in a healthcare facility that houses physically and mentally ailing patients, but that doesn’t mean it is acceptable that the hospital authorities are not taking all the measures necessary to prevent or at the very least, lessen the frequency of such accidents. A few examples of the measures that a hospital can take to prevent such accidents from happening include the following.
- Use slip-resistant flooring material
- Instruct against polishing the floors to a point where it becomes slippery
- Install electronic patient lifts for hassle-free transportation of patients (bed to chair, stretcher to bed, etc.)
- Install handrails in the corridors and grabbing bars in the bathrooms
- Bed exit alarms are a good option, especially in the senior section
Decentralized Nursing Stations
A centralized nursing station is an outdated practice nowadays because it puts patients that are far away from the station at a risk of receiving less attention than required. Instead, plan for multiple, strategically located, smaller nursing stations across the hospital in sections where the most number of patients are admitted. Assign and reassign nurses to these satellite stations in accordance with the number of patients in specific sections of the hospital. This would mean that if a patient needs assistance in getting out of bed for some reason, a nurse should be available to assist him/her at short notice, decreasing the chances of the patient falling in the process.
Keep Things Updated
The medical laws, regulations and safety essentials always keep changing and it is a legal requirement to keep a facility updated and in compliance with those changes. Failure to do so will put the business, the faculty and the patients in danger. The regulations and safety precautions are changed when new discoveries are made, so by keeping in line with them, an institution only makes the internal environment safer for everyone.
Most of these tips should not really be news for those that have been in the healthcare industry for a while, but even then, sometimes, it is important to be reminded of the basics because that’s generally where the healthcare facilities get it wrong almost all the time.