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?
- 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
- 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