The primary duty of a hospital and its medical staff is to keep patients healthy and safe. Most healthcare facilities already have measures in place designed to ensure patient health and safety, but as these hospitals become larger and busier and add new staff and patients, these safety policies may need reevaluation. To avoid devastating medical errors, all health care personnel should follow these three essential strategies to improve patient safety in hospitals.
Reduce Medication-Related Errors
It may seem hard to believe that a patient could receive the wrong medication or dosage, but it happens with relative frequency. Usually, this slip-up is harmless—but occasionally, it can result in serious consequences. To avoid medication errors, staff members should familiarize themselves with the most common medication administration errors and how to prevent them. In general, one can prevent adverse reactions by confirming all information (patient name, medication name, known allergies, last time administered, etc.) with both the patient and a fellow healthcare provider prior to administration.
Minimize Infections With Proper Hygiene
Now more than ever, staff must practice proper hygiene. Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of harmful germs, bacteria, and other microorganisms. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will help with this endeavor. However, sparkling clean hands aren’t enough to minimize patient infection. Staff must clean and sterilize any equipment between uses. This includes equipment such as stethoscopes, otoscopes, and examination tables.
Keep Patients in the Know
This is one commonly overlooked strategy for improving patient safety in hospitals. You can turn a one-person team into a two-person team by informing a patient about their care. The patient will have the knowledge and tools they need to take care of themselves outside of the hospital, and they may even catch blunders during their appointments. They might notice the wrong medication laying on the table or an incorrect detail in their medical charts—things they might miss if they aren’t in the loop.