Wednesday, May 16, 2012

6 Aspects of Patient Safety in Hospitals

Patient safety in any hospital or medical treatment facility is one of the greatest concerns around the world and yet there are many facilities who default on their safety promises to their patients.

Some of the things which contribute to patient safety are:

  • Fire Safety
  • Hygiene
  • Security
  • Waste Management
  • Equipment
  • Positive Patient Identification

Fire Safety

As some hospitals are very large facilities, it is necessary to have a properly functioning fire system in place that meets industry standards and is up-to-date on inspections. Patients at a hospital cannot confront a greater risk to their health than a fire occurring while they are incapacitated in a hospital bed. Fire escape exits also need to be clearly marked and the procedures for a fire-risk emergency displayed to the public.

Hygiene

At any one moment, at least 1.4 million people globally are suffering from infections caused by improper hygiene in a hospital, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Proper hygiene would consist of making sure that all surfaces such as walls, floors and counter/table-tops are always clean and sterile, that fresh linen of hospital beds are used frequently and all medical staff sterilise their hands in the proper manner, before and after seeing to each and every patient.

Security

Security safety is important for various reasons. Things such as secure-area intrusions, theft, fighting and kidnapping are not uncommon and occur due to poor security measures. Locked doors to sensitive areas, personnel identification, secured medical supplies and properly trained security staff is necessary in order to avoid such mishaps as mentioned above.

Waste Management

Disposing of dangerous waste material is crucial to ensure no patients or any unsuspecting person in a medical facility comes into contact with it. Contact with a used needle could transfer diseases such as aids to someone who is accidentally pricked for example. Disposal of medical waste needs to be handled on a daily basis and according to a strict procedure. All medical waste should be destroyed at once.

Equipment

Hospital equipment needs to be properly functioning and those who are operating the equipment need to be properly trained and certified to work with it. Many a time there has been an occasion where death or injury due to medical negligence has happened as a result of alleged equipment "malfunction", only to find out that the staff member operating it had not received the correct training.

Positive Patient Identification

Patients at any hospital need to be correctly marked and have their full patient file on hand in the hospital should any procedure be undertaken or drug administered. It is not uncommon that people have had unnecessary surgeries performed on them or an incorrect drug administered as a result of mistaken identity.

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