Patient Safety Initiative Draws on Family Inputs to Help Prevent Infections, Errors

hospital%20notice.jpgA new patient safety initiative that is being promoted by Johns Hopkins University, is trying to combine engineering aspects that can promote patient safety and prevent errors, with input from family members.

Often, it is the family members who notice that something is wrong before staff members at the hospital do. Unfortunately, asking family members or even listening to them is not high on the priority list at many hospitals or health care facilities. That attitude should probably change.

The Johns Hopkins University initiative aims to combine engineering aids with the support of the patient as well as families, to reduce the risk of some of the most common medical errors. For instance, an overworked nurse may not notice that a person’s bed is not in the upright position. For a person who is hooked onto a ventilator, not being in an upright position could mean a higher risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia. While a nurse may overlook the bed position, a family member could notice, and may be able to bring this matter to the attention of the nurses.

Family members could also be involved in ensuring that staff members who are checking on a patient follow all hand washing and hand hygiene procedures before they check on the patient. Proper hand hygiene compliance can reduce a vast number of the hospital-acquired infections that occur every year, and Indiana medical malpractice lawyers highly recommend that patients, as well as caregivers impress on hospital staff the need to wash hands before they attend to the patient.

In fact, introducing family inputs, not just to identify and recognize potential risk hazards in the patient’s environment but also while developing treatment options for the patient, might mean the difference between life and death for the patient. Very often, family members know many aspects of the patient’s health that may increase the risk of medical errors. For instance, the patient may be on some medications which family members are aware and this should be brought to the attention of the hospital authorities.

The Johns Hopkins initiative intends on designing controls that will specifically outline steps to be implemented with the goal of reducing the risk of medical errors. The system would include alerts for when medical care personnel fail to take a particular step that would ensure patient safety.

Every year, medical errors kill or injure thousands of American patients. Many of these include medication errors, the development of hospital-acquired infections, surgical and diagnostic errors. In all these cases, a combination of engineering aids and family inputs can reduce risk hazards.

The Indiana medical malpractice attorneys at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy represent persons injured due to the negligence of medical professionals across Indiana.