We Can Prevent Hospital Acquired Conditions

Around the time of my discharge the staff had noticed I had a little mark on my skin. And when I inquired about what it is, I was told that it’s a little red mark and it just needed a light dressing and for me to stay off it for a few days and things would be fine. I was blown away; I couldn’t believe it. How can we be talking about fatal from something that needed a light dressing? It was actually more difficult to go through that than my actual injury because in my head I felt fine but I was confined to my bed. When a patient comes in to our hospital, they’re coming in because they’re already vulnerable. They have an illness that needs our help for treatment or for care. So, Hospital Acquired Condition or what we call a HAC, really is a condition that the patient did not have prior to coming into the hospital. There are six hospital acquired conditions which cause the most harm for our patients. So, those are Central Line Infections, C. difficile Infections, Surgical Site Infections, Pressure Injury, Adverse Drug Events and Falls. These types of preventable conditions actually cause things like the patient to have to remain in the hospital for longer. Or it could cause a lot of pain and suffering for that patient and for their family. And finally unfortunately there are times when this causes long term disability on patients or death. Around each of these conditions, we’ve created prevention bundles. So these are used by our broader inter-professional teams to prevent harm for our patients. And we know from the evidence that these prevention bundles decrease harm to patients. They work. HAC prevention bundles are a set of protocols and tools that are really anchored in evidence based best practice. The HACs were put in place as a more focused formalized way of saying it’s everybody’s responsibility to talk about these and prevent these and we’ve always done it, it’s just more concentrated now. I work with people who have had strokes and they are at a higher risk of having a fall. And we work as a team so closely to ensure that whatever we do to prevent falls will help them get back to their function and their day-to-day activities. So for example do they need supervision or do they need assistance for getting in and out of bed? Is an alarm required for the bed, for a wheelchair? For me what I do is I clean my housekeeping cart every morning. My mop stick, my broom, everything gets wiped down. So then you ensure what you are using is clean to clean, right? We’re safe so everyone can be safe as well. This is a really a team game. We rely on this broader inter-professional team both to deliver care but ensure patients’ safety. We’re all here for patients, they’re our number one priority. The end goal is to keep everyone safe, injury free, infection free, that’s our job,
our mission, right? Every person that has contact with a patient has the ability to ensure that their journey with us is safe. When HACs are prevented, everybody wins. There is a lot of value in honest open conversations. People now feel that it’s everybody’s responsibility to come up to anyone and say there’s something wrong with this, I don’t feel right about this. And they don’t fear that they’re going to be in trouble. We’re helping people not only recover better, get better stronger, faster but also get back to their daily activities and get back to their life. I want to try and help people prevent them having to go through the same thing that I’ve gone through. At the end of the day, the littlest details have the biggest impact.

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