Dec 9th is World Patient Safety Day

On 9th December every year, World Patient Safety Day is celebrated to increase the awareness about the safety of the patient. Patient Safety is a major public health concern, and one of the fundamental tenets of health care.

Why is Patient Safety a concern?

As per the estimates by WHO, 1 in 10 patients in developed countries are harmed while receiving hospital care, as a result of defects in the structures and processes of treatment and care. As the healthcare system becomes more complex, patient safety becomes a larger concern.


What are some common patient safety issues?

  • There may be diagnostic errors such as wrong, missed or delayed diagnosis
  • Acquired infection during hospitalization
  • Wrong medication or the right medication in the wrong dosage
  • Communication error between the hospital workers as well as between the patient and the doctor


How can Patient Safety be ensured?

Patient safety is inevitably influenced by the health care system. The evidence highlights a number
of factors contributing to harm, including:
  • weak health care systems;
  • suboptimal infrastructure and limited supplies of essential equipment for safety;
  • limited leadership and management capacity;
  • inadequate training or supervision of clinical staff;
  • absence of protocols or policies;
  • failure to implement protocols and policies;
  • inadequate communication;
  • prevailing punitive and blaming culture with inadequate reporting;
  • delays in providing, or failure to provide, a reliable service

There are many processes & guidelines in place to prevent such adverse events from affecting those undergoing treatments in healthcare facilities.

  • Proper Coding should be maintained to maintain patient identity
  • Training of healthcare professionals and team building activities can help in reducing such errors
  • Take proper charge when handling over the patients especially during shifts
  • Doctors should be trained for rational use of medicines and especially avoid over prescription
  • Proper healthcare infrastructure will help in reducing patient harm during hospitalization


What can you do for your own safety?

  • Provide accurate patient data to the hospital staff including allergies the patient might be suffering from
  • Ask questions if you have any doubt or if you are not sure of any detail about the diagnosis. If in doubt, seek a second opinion on a medical condition
  • Discuss in details about the pros and cons of any medical procedure that is prescribed for the patient


Universal Precautions:

  • Wash/ sanitize your hands frequently while providing any kind of care to the patients
  • Wear gloves while coming in contact with the patient
  • Wear a surgical, eye wear or face shield while treating the patient
  • Dispose the contaminated needles after every use
  • Clean and disinfect the reusable equipments before using it for another patient
  • Ensure proper disposal of biomedical waste (waste produced in the hospital)
  • Cover the nose/mouth while coughing / sneezing. Use a tissue/ handkerchief


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