Patient safety or as it’s otherwise termed, “preventable harm” in health care is a public health crisis and is growing as a leading cause of death in the United States.
According to Stat News, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly three-quarters of a million Americans develop health care-associated infections each year, 75,000 of whom die during that hospitalization. Additionally, other patients get the wrong medications, endure mistakes in surgery, experience falls in the hospital, receive treatments meant for someone else, develop pressure ulcers, and more. More than 12 million patients each year experience a diagnostic error in outpatient care, half of which could cause harm. One-third of Medicare beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities experience adverse events.”
Entities such as The National Patient Safety Foundation, who recently published A Call to Action, are increasingly calling on health care leaders and policymakers to initiate a coordinated public health responses to improve patient safety to ensure that patients and those who care for them are free from preventable harm.
As an individual there are a few things you can do to minimize your own risk in the healthcare arena;
- Wash your hands to prevent infection and don’t be shy about reminding others, especially the medical staff, to do the same thing.
- Ask questions about the risks and benefits of any treatment or procedure.
- Don’t go alone – bring a trusted ally with you whenever possible.
- Know your medications and why you’re taking them.
- Repeat back to your clinicians what you think they’ve told you.
- And understand your care plan by asking the NPSF Ask Me 3 questions: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do this?
Broad Street can help. We provide Personal Assistants who can help manage overall health care and awareness. Through our Professional Network we can help you find the right resources like Nurse Advocates to help navigate your experience, needs, answer questions or identify areas of concern. We provide home care in Wilmette, the North Shore area of Chicago. For more information, please call 847.728.0134.