Monday, May 9, 2011

Training to be a Patient Safety Advocate

Training May 2, 2011

Our Latest training, Family Centered Patient Advocacy was another success. I measure success by how much I learn too. By sharing experiences with the people who come to this program, we can all learn. It is important to recognize that as a fairly new idea, we must be open to listening.

The feedback was all positive, the participants improved on the post-test and the interaction was lively. The audience, mostly community and non-medical people did have a sprinkling of 2 or 3 nurses who shared their ideas which at times were not always what I would support. But, that’s part of the learning process.

I suggest an “advocate” call themselves a family friend, this way there isn’t another professional in the room. This has come with experience that when I have called myself the patient’s advocate the doctor in the room or a nurse caring for the patient may seem annoyed that now there is just another professional in the room they may have to answer to. Family and friends have become acceptable participants and even encouraged to be with the patient. Some medical staff find an advocate to be an unwelcome third party.

But, times could be changing. Some people in that classroom were going to call themselves the patient’s advocate. That may mean the adult daughter of the patient or a friend of the patient. It can also mean they may want to start a business and use a professional name. For whatever reason, I would be happy to know that given my experience people have heard my suggestions but are bold and independent enough to choose what is best for them.

After another training a participant told me he decided to not ask the doctor to wash his hands before touching the patient who was visiting the doctor for a well visit. When I asked why, he said he needed to choose where he was going to take the conversation and he didn’t want that challenge. I completely understood.

When we hold trainings about patient safety, we are giving the tools as we know it from training, reading and participating with others with the same interest. As an advocate I learn new things constantly. I watch for the doctor to wash his hands or use antibacterial lotion. I take notes and am respectful to the patient. Each time there may be an incident that will be different than another time. There isn’t usually a right or wrong way to do something. It is just having the knowledge and information to feel empowered to use it if needed.

No comments: