Thursday, March 11, 2010

Patient Safety Awareness Week 2010

Patient Safety Awareness Week 2010

Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at the Long Island Veterans Affairs Medical Center for Patient Safety Awareness Week. I spoke on the topic of the patient’s role in patient safety. It was a crowd of about 150 people who gathered and in the back of the room were the poster presentations of the hospitals safety initiatives all year. Fall reduction, infections and Root Cause Analysis were but just a few of the important topics addressed through poster displays.

The participants at this conference, mostly staff of the VA were reviewing their colleagues work after listening to my presentation and the presentation of long time friend to PULSE Dr. Mark Graber, Chief of Medicine. Dr. Graber was the person I first turned to, to get Patient Safety Awareness Week started back in 2002. Without hesitation he went to his colleagues in the VA and soon the whole country was supportive with the leadership of the National Patient Safety Foundation.

I still would like to see more community partnership in patient safety. Patient Safety Awareness Week was developed so the hospitals and healthcare providers can take pride in their work around safety but also, so they can tell us, the community what they are doing to keep us safe. Without the community knowing about fall prevention programs, hand washing initiatives or the work being done in the other areas of patient safety, we still are not in a position, as a society to “question” our care. If the only place patient safety is being discussed is behind the closed walls of the healthcare system, than where do we, the patients and families fit in?

Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. I have lots of ideas how we can get there but until we as a community are not part of the solution, well then, you know the rest…………………….

(Photo L-R Anna Gaeta, Patient Safety Officer VAMC, Me, Florence Fallon RN, Recently Retired Patient Safety Officer VAMC)

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