Caring Today, Growing for Tomorrow.

Caring Today, Growing for Tomorrow.

Patient Safety Initiatives

Ensuring patient safety is a fundamental element of high quality healthcare. At Halton Healthcare Services (HHS), providing safe, quality healthcare to our patients is not only a top priority, but a value that we uphold every day. The safety of our patients is associated with and linked to every healthcare priority and every activity we do.

Our patients are at the centre of our care. We are continually working to improve our care and implement innovative safety initiatives each year. The patient and their family are valued members of the healthcare team. We welcome and promote conversations between our patients and staff and aim to involve everyone in patient care and in our quest to create a safer healthcare environment.

Patient Safety Initiatives

If you wish to learn more about patient safety programs at our hospitals, please read the information below on some of our initiatives.

Delirium

Delirium is a common and serious medical condition that is characterized by a quick change in mental functioning. Delirium is different from dementia, but they often occur together. The symptoms of delirium can change throughout the day and can last from days to week. With treatment most people do return to their usual selves, however, some may not respond to treatment for some time.

An inter-professional team has implemented a number of initiatives to prevent and reduce the prevalence a delirium, assist in early identification and rapid treatment. These improvements enhance patient safety by preventing and reducing the prevalence of delirium in high risk older patients hospitalized at our facilities so that their cognitive and physical function is maintained throughout and outcomes improved.

Falls Prevention

HHS is actively involved in enhancing our Falls/Safe Mobility program at all three Hospitals. We know from published studies in healthcare that many people are at risk for falling when hospitalized for a wide variety of reasons. Some of the changes being implemented at HHS include:

  • Methods of identifying patients who are especially at risk for falling.
     
  • Simple but effective methods of alerting the care team when someone is at risk for falling.
     
  • Standardizing a number of universal ‘safety precautions’ (e.g. requiring use of non-slip footwear, bed placed in lowest position, actively working with patients and families in customizing strategies)

A Falls Prevention pamphlet is available for patients and families that describes what they can do to help prevent falls. These are available in the patient care units and in display cases in the lobby. It takes teamwork to prevent falls and injuries from falls!

Hand Hygiene

At HHS hand hygiene is one of our top patient safety initiatives. In Fall 2011, HHS launched a campaign to increase hand hygiene at our community hospitals with a message to say, “The Bugs Stop Here…Pump it up!”

Hand washing is your best defense against infection. The best way to stop the spread of germs at work, home or in the hospital is for you, your visitors and your care providers to practice good hand hygiene. Good hand hygiene means washing your hands with soap and water or using a waterless, alcohol-based hand gel or foam product to clean your hands. We encourage everyone to wash their hands thoroughly at our convenient hand washing stations as they enter and exit our hospitals.

Medication Safety is a Priority at HHS

Halton Healthcare Services (HHS) is implementing a comprehensive, multi-year plan to upgrade and automate its medication management system. Focusing on patient care and safety, this plan involves the implementation of some of the latest medication dispensing, storage and retrieval technology available on the market today at all three of its hospitals. It has a number of built in safeguards to ensure that the right patient is getting the right dose of the right medication and that the process is properly documented.

Medication Safety Takes Working Together

Our healthcare providers work in partnership with you to help keep you safe. Together, we ensure that the medications you receive are exactly what you need for your care and treatment.

What you can do to help

  • Make sure you always keep an accurate list of the medications you take at home. Bring this list with you when you come to the hospital.
  • Understand what your medications are for – talk to your community pharmacist for information. In hospital – be sure to ask us to explain your medications so you understand
  • Let us know if you have any allergies to medications and what your reaction has been

What we are doing to keep you safe

  • We will ask you about your home medications and review them with you. This includes both over-the-counter and prescription medications
  • We compare your home medication list to the hospital list to make sure nothing is missed – this happens when you are admitted to hospital, if you are transferred to another unit and when you are discharged
  • We always check your identify before any medication is given. This will include asking you who you are and when you were born and reviewing your armband.

A form to list your medications is available for printing.

Patient Safety Expo

In Celebration of the annual National Patient Safety Week - Knowledge is the Best Medicine: Ask. Talk. Listen, held in November each year, Halton Healthcare Services hosts a series of hospital-wide events that focus on showcasing our patient safety-related initiatives – called the Patient Safety Expo.

The goal is to share and communicate patient safety initiatives with colleagues across our hospitals, showcase important safety practices and new care and treatment improvements, raise awareness of patient safety issues, and recognize and celebrate staff achievements. The response to this event is tremendous with over 50 teams participating.

Positive Patient Identification (PPID)

The HHS Laboratory was the first in Canada to pilot an electronic patient identification system called Mobilab by Iatric Systems. This Positive Patient Identification (PPID) and labeling system improves patient safety by reducing patient and specimen identification errors.

Pressure Ulcer Prevention

Pressure ulcers are a change or break in the skin caused by constant pressure - usually over a bony area such as a tailbone or heel. Pressure ulcers can become a serious problem depending on damage to the skin and how deep the wound stretches down to the underlying bone. 

HHS has a Pressure Ulcer Prevention program in place that is making a difference for our patients. The incidence of these pressure ulcers is dropping steadily because of enhanced care and treatment practices. For instance – patients at risk are provided with a special heel boot to wear in bed – these are comfortable and relieve pressure on the heels.

Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)

Venous Thromboembolism or VTE refers to clots in the blood that can develop in the deep veins of the legs (called deep vein thrombosis or DVT) or in the lungs (called Pulmonary Embolism). Many hospitalized patient such as those undergoing major surgery, those who are very ill, have a significantly increased risk of developing blood clots. At HHS, we have practices in place for both your healthcare team and you to help prevent the likelihood of you developing a blood clot. Review the enclosed information ‘What Patients can do to reduce the risk of blood clots, also known as VTE?’ to find out about these practices. 

In general, the following words of advice will also help reduce your risk of developing blood clots:

  1. Stay active;
  2. Do not smoke or stop if you do; and
  3. Maintain a healthy body weight

Safer Healthcare Now!

Halton Healthcare Services is a registered participant in the Safer Healthcare Now initiative which is a collaborative effort aimed at reducing the number of injuries and deaths related to adverse effects, such as infections and medication incidents.

HHS has implemented eight interventions associated with this initiative. Find out more about Safer Healthcare Now!

Safety Champions

In order to ensure that all safety concerns and success at the front-line are shared within each hospital department and across the organization, Halton Healthcare Services continues to benefit from the expertise and support of a team of Safety Champions across the organization. Each department and patient care unit has identified one or two Safety Champions who work collaboratively alongside their colleagues and managers as safety ambassadors.

Safety Huddles

HHS uses Safety Huddles as a key strategy to increase open, non-punitive communication among interdisciplinary teams, heighten safety awareness among front line staff, and identify and find solutions for staff and patient safety issues and concerns. Safety Huddles are an opportunity for all staff in work teams to meet briefly to discuss and tackle safety issues in their work area. The Huddles have had considerable appeal because they are short, focused, timely and frequent.

Your Healthcare Be Involved

 Your Health Care – Be Involved was an initiative launched several years ago by the Ontario Hospital Association. The initiative is guided by the concept of patient empowerment and on the important role patients can play at each stage in their care. The pamphlet Your Health Care – Be Involved seeks to encourage patients and promote better health outcomes by being partners with the health care team – practicing the five common-sense patient safety "tips". You need to tell us about you so that together, your needs can be better met. For example – always keep with you a list of the current medications you are taking and share these with your care providers whenever you attend a clinic visit or hospital. These tips help ensure that patients have the information they need to make the most of every health care experience.

To access the OHA's brochure in multiple languages please click here.

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